Mammalian reovirus binds to cell-surface glycans and junctional adhesion molecule A and enters cells by receptor-mediated endocytosis in a process dependent on β1 integrin. Within the endocytic compartment, reovirus undergoes stepwise disassembly, allowing release of the transcriptionally active viral core into the cytoplasm. To identify cellular mediators of reovirus infectivity, we screened a library of small-molecule inhibitors for the capacity to block virus-induced cytotoxicity. In this screen, reovirus-induced cell killing was dampened by several compounds known to impair microtubule dynamics. Microtubule inhibitors were assessed for blockade of various stages of the reovirus life cycle. While these drugs did not alter reovirus cell attachment or internalization, microtubule inhibitors diminished viral disassembly kinetics with a concomitant decrease in infectivity. Reovirus virions colocalize with microtubules and microtubule motor dynein 1 during cell entry, and depolymerization of microtubules results in intracellular aggregation of viral particles. These data indicate that functional microtubules are required for proper sorting of reovirus virions following internalization and point to a new drug target for pathogens that use the endocytic pathway to invade host cells.
Importance: Screening libraries of well-characterized drugs for antiviral activity enables the rapid characterization of host processes required for viral infectivity and provides new therapeutic applications for established pharmaceuticals. Our finding that microtubule-inhibiting drugs impair reovirus infection identifies a new cell-based antiviral target.