AMP-Activated Protein Kinase Restricts Zika Virus Replication in Endothelial Cells by Potentiating Innate Antiviral Responses and Inhibiting Glycolysis

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J Immunol


Viruses are known to perturb host cellular metabolism to enable their replication and spread. However, little is known about the interactions between Zika virus (ZIKV) infection and host metabolism. Using primary human retinal vascular endothelial cells and an established human endothelial cell line, we investigated the role of AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a master regulator of energy metabolism, in response to ZIKV challenge. ZIKV infection caused a time-dependent reduction in the active phosphorylated state of AMPK and of its downstream target acetyl-CoA carboxylase. Pharmacological activation of AMPK using 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR), metformin, and a specific AMPKalpha activator (GSK621) attenuated ZIKV replication. This activity was reversed by an AMPK inhibitor (compound C). Lentivirus-mediated knockdown of AMPK and the use of AMPKalpha(-/-) mouse embryonic fibroblasts provided further evidence that AMPK has an antiviral effect on ZIKV replication. Consistent with its antiviral effect, AMPK activation potentiated the expression of genes with antiviral properties (e.g., IFNs, OAS2, ISG15, and MX1) and inhibited inflammatory mediators (e.g., TNF-alpha and CCL5). Bioenergetic analysis showed that ZIKV infection evokes a glycolytic response, as evidenced by elevated extracellular acidification rate and increased expression of key glycolytic genes (GLUT1, HK2, TPI, and MCT4); activation of AMPK by AICAR treatment reduced this response. Consistent with this, 2-deoxyglucose, an inhibitor of glycolysis, augmented AMPK activity and attenuated ZIKV replication. Thus, our study demonstrates that the anti-ZIKV effect of AMPK signaling in endothelial cells is mediated by reduction of viral-induced glycolysis and enhanced innate antiviral responses.

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ePub ahead of print





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