Rubella virus perturbs autophagy

Kata Pásztor, László Orosz, György Seprényi, Klára Megyeri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

4 Citations (Scopus)


Autophagy is a cellular catabolic process implicated in numerous physiological processes and pathological conditions, including infections. Viruses have evolved different strategies to modulate the autophagic process. Since the effects of rubella virus (RV) on autophagy have not yet been reported, we evaluated the autophagic activity in the Statens Seruminstitut Rabbit Cornea cell line infected with the To336 strain of RV. Our results showed that RV lowered the levels of microtubule-associated protein 1 light chain 3 B-II (LC3B-II) and the autophagy-related gene 12–autophagy-related gene 5 conjugate, inhibited the autophagic flux, suppressed the intracellular redistribution of LC3B, decreased both the average number and the size of autophagosomes per cell and impeded the formation of acidic vesicular organelles. Induction of autophagy by using rapamycin decreased both the viral yields and the apoptotic rates of infected cultures. Besides its cytoprotective effects, autophagy furnishes an important antiviral mechanism, inhibition of which may reorchestrate intracellular environment so as to better serve the unique requirements of RV replication. Together, our observations suggest that RV utilizes a totally different strategy to cope with autophagy than that evolved by other positive-stranded RNA viruses, and there is considerable heterogeneity among the members of the Togaviridae family in terms of their effects on the cellular autophagic cascade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)323-331
Number of pages9
JournalMedical Microbiology and Immunology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sep 26 2014



  • Apoptosis
  • Autophagy
  • Rubella virus
  • SIRC cell line

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Microbiology (medical)

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