Article Alert: Turning the tables on influenza: Targeted therapy to reverse virus-induced metabolic reprogramming

news January 24 2018

Influenza is a persistent yet ever-changing threat to global public health, inflicting significant morbidity and mortality on vulnerable populations. With the often limited efficacy of both vaccination and antiviral medications due to viral escape, novel therapeutic strategies are essential. Recent studies have demonstrated that certain viruses alter host cell metabolism to create viral replication niches [Reviewed in 1]. Smallwood et al. investigated the influenza virus-induced metabolic changes in normal primary human bronchial epithelial (NHBE) cells with the goal of identifying cellular targets required for viral infection that are candidates for pharmacologic intervention [2]. Using quantitative mass spectrometry, the authors found that infected NHBE cells had increases in c-Myc, glycolysis, and glutaminolysis. Intriguingly, a metabolic drug screen revealed that the PI3K/mTOR inhibitor BEZ235 countered these changes in infected cells and decreased viral titer and mortality in vivo. These findings highlight the concept that targeting the metabolic reprogramming driven by influenza and other viruses may offer potentially exciting approaches to new therapies.

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Reference:
1. Virology. 2015 May;479-480:609-18.
2. Cell Rep. 2017 May 23;19(8):1640-1653.

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