ABHD5/CGI-58, the Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome Protein, Mobilises Lipid Stores for Hepatitis C Virus Production

PLoS Pathog. 2016 Apr 28;12(4):e1005568. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005568. eCollection 2016 Apr.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) particles closely mimic human very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL) to evade humoral immunity and to facilitate cell entry. However, the principles that govern HCV association with VLDL components are poorly defined. Using an siRNA screen, we identified ABHD5 (α/β hydrolase domain containing protein 5, also known as CGI-58) as a new host factor promoting both virus assembly and release. ABHD5 associated with lipid droplets and triggered their hydrolysis. Importantly, ABHD5 Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome mutants responsible for a rare lipid storage disorder in humans were mislocalised, and unable to consume lipid droplets or support HCV production. Additional ABHD5 mutagenesis revealed a novel tribasic motif that does not influence subcellular localization but determines both ABHD5 lipolytic and proviral properties. These results indicate that HCV taps into the lipid droplet triglyceride reservoir usurping ABHD5 lipase cofactor function. They also suggest that the resulting lipid flux, normally devoted to VLDL synthesis, also participates in the assembly and release of the HCV lipo-viro-particle. Altogether, our study provides the first association between the Chanarin-Dorfman syndrome protein and an infectious disease and sheds light on the hepatic manifestations of this rare genetic disorder as well as on HCV morphogenesis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Blotting, Western
  • Flow Cytometry
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Ichthyosiform Erythroderma, Congenital / metabolism
  • Ichthyosiform Erythroderma, Congenital / physiopathology
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism, Inborn Errors / physiopathology
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Muscular Diseases / metabolism
  • Muscular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Triglycerides / metabolism
  • Virus Assembly / physiology*


  • Triglycerides
  • 1-Acylglycerol-3-Phosphate O-Acyltransferase
  • ABHD5 protein, human

Supplementary concepts

  • Chanarin-Dorfman Syndrome

Grant support

This work was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG) Sonderforschungsbereiche (SFB) 900, project A6 (http://www.dfg.de/foerderung/programme/koordinierte_programme/sfb/) (TP), by the Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung (DZI-F, http://www.dzif.de/, TP, FWRV) and by a grant from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the Helmholtz Association SO-024 (http://www.helmholtz.de/en/home/, TP). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.