How Viruses Hijack the ERAD Tuning Machinery
An essential step during the intracellular life cycle of many positive-strand RNA viruses is the rearrangement of host cell membranes to generate membrane-bound replication platforms. For example, Nidovirales and Flaviviridae subvert the membrane of the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) for their replication. However, the absence of conventional ER and secretory pathway markers in virus-induced ER-derived membranes has for a long time hampered a thorough understanding of their biogenesis. Recent reports highlight the analogies between mouse hepatitis virus-, equine arteritis virus-, and Japanese encephalitis virus-induced replication platforms and ER-associated degradation (ERAD) tuning vesicles (or EDEMosomes) that display nonlipidated LC3 at their cytosolic face and segregate the ERAD factors EDEM1, OS-9, and SEL1L from the ER lumen. In this Gem, we briefly summarize the current knowledge on ERAD tuning pathways and how they might be hijacked for viral genome replication. As ERAD tuning components, such as SEL1L and nonlipidated LC3, appear to contribute to viral infection, these cellular pathways represent novel candidate drug targets to combat positive-strand RNA viruses.