Novel functions of viral anti-apoptotic factors


Cellular apoptosis is of major importance in the struggle between virus and host. Although many viruses use various strategies to control the cell death machinery by encoding anti-apoptotic virulence factors, it is now becoming clear that, in addition to their role in inhibiting apoptosis, these factors function in multiple immune and metabolic pathways to promote fitness and pathogenesis. In this Progress article, we discuss novel functions of viral anti-apoptotic factors in the regulation of autophagy, in the nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) pathway and in interferon signalling, with a focus on persistent and oncogenic gammaherpesviruses. If viral anti-apoptotic proteins are to be properly exploited as targets for antiviral drugs, their diverse and complex roles should be considered.

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Figure 1: Viral anti-apoptotic factors target autophagy.
Figure 2: Interference with the NF-κB and IFN pathways by viral anti-apoptotic factors.


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C.L. is funded by the by American Cancer Society (grant RSG-11-121-01-CCG) and the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) (grants CA140964 and CA161436). B.-H.O is funded by the GRL Program (K20815000001) and KAIST Institute Cancer Metastasis Control Center (grant N1014002). J.U.J is funded by the NIH (grants CA082057, CA31363, CA115284, CA180779, AI073099, AI105809 and HL110609), the Global Research Laboratory (GRL) Program (K20815000001) from National Research Foundation of Korea, the Hastings Foundation and the Fletcher Jones Foundation.

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Correspondence to Chengyu Liang or Jae U. Jung.

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The authors declare no competing financial interests.

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Liang, C., Oh, BH. & Jung, J. Novel functions of viral anti-apoptotic factors. Nat Rev Microbiol 13, 7–12 (2015).

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