Dr. Chen, Steve S.-L.

Emeritus Research Fellow

  • Retrovirology
  • HCV
  • Virus-host Interactions
  • Virus Assembly and Budding

Education and Positions:
  • Ph.D., Biochemistry,  Purdue University

Highlight Detail

Hepatitis C virus subverts human choline kinase-α to bridge PI4KIIIα and NS5A and upregulates PI4KIIIα activation, thereby promoting the translocation of the ternary complex to the ER for viral replication

Dr. Chen, Steve S.-L.
Journal of Virology, May 31, 2017

In this study, we elucidated the mechanism by which human choline kinase-α (hCKα) interacts with nonstructural protein (NS)5A and phosphatidylinositol-4-kinase (PI4K)IIIα, the lipid kinase crucial for maintaining the integrity of virus-induced membranous webs, and modulates hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication. hCKα activity positively modulated PI-4-phosphate (PI4P) levels in HCV-expressing cells, and hCKα-mediated PI4P accumulation was abolished by AL-9, a PI4KIIIα-specific inhibitor. hCKα colocalized with NS5A and PI4KIIIα or PI4P, NS5A expression increased hCKα and PI4KIIIα colocalization, and hCKα formed a ternary complex with PI4KIIIα and NS5A, supporting the functional interplay of hCKα with PI4KIIIα and NS5A. PI4KIIIα inactivation by AL-9 or hCKα inactivation by CK37, a specific hCKα inhibitor, impaired the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) localization and colocalization of these three molecules. Interestingly, hCKα knockdown or inactivation inhibited PI4KIIIα-NS5A binding. In an in vitro PI4KIIIα activity assay, hCKα activity slightly increased PI4KIIIa basal activity but greatly augmented NS5A-induced PI4KIIIa activity, supporting the essential role of ternary complex formation in robust PI4KIIIα activation. Concurring with the upregulation of PI4P production and viral replication, overexpression of active hCKα-R (but not the D288A mutant) restored PI4KIIIα and NS5A translocation to the ER in hCKα stable knockdown cells. Furthermore, active PI4KIIIα overexpression restored PI4P production, PI4KIIIα and NS5A translocation to the ER and viral replication in CK37-treated cells. Based on our results, hCKα functions as an indispensable regulator that bridges PI4KIIIα and NS5A and potentiates NS5A-stimulated PI4KIIIα activity, which then facilitates the targeting of the ternary complex to the ER for viral replication.