The major cellular sterol regulatory pathway is required for Andes virus infection

PLoS Pathog. 2014 Feb 6;10(2):e1003911. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1003911. eCollection 2014 Feb.


The Bunyaviridae comprise a large family of RNA viruses with worldwide distribution and includes the pathogenic New World hantavirus, Andes virus (ANDV). Host factors needed for hantavirus entry remain largely enigmatic and therapeutics are unavailable. To identify cellular requirements for ANDV infection, we performed two parallel genetic screens. Analysis of a large library of insertionally mutagenized human haploid cells and a siRNA genomic screen converged on components (SREBP-2, SCAP, S1P and S2P) of the sterol regulatory pathway as critically important for infection by ANDV. The significance of this pathway was confirmed using functionally deficient cells, TALEN-mediated gene disruption, RNA interference and pharmacologic inhibition. Disruption of sterol regulatory complex function impaired ANDV internalization without affecting virus binding. Pharmacologic manipulation of cholesterol levels demonstrated that ANDV entry is sensitive to changes in cellular cholesterol and raises the possibility that clinically approved regulators of sterol synthesis may prove useful for combating ANDV infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cholesterol / metabolism*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Hantavirus Infections / metabolism*
  • Host-Parasite Interactions / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Orthohantavirus / pathogenicity*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Sterols / metabolism
  • Transduction, Genetic
  • Virus Internalization*
  • Virus Replication / physiology


  • Sterols
  • Cholesterol