Viral dependence on cellular ion channels - an emerging anti-viral target?

J Gen Virol. 2017 Mar;98(3):345-351. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000712. Epub 2017 Apr 1.


The broad range of cellular functions governed by ion channels represents an attractive target for viral manipulation. Indeed, modulation of host cell ion channel activity by viral proteins is being increasingly identified as an important virus-host interaction. Recent examples have demonstrated that virion entry, virus egress and the maintenance of a cellular environment conducive to virus persistence are, in part, dependent on virus manipulation of ion channel activity. Most excitingly, evidence has emerged that targeting ion channels pharmacologically can impede virus life cycles. Here, we discuss current examples of virus-ion channel interactions and the potential of targeting ion channel function as a new, pharmacologically safe and broad-ranging anti-viral therapeutic strategy.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology*
  • Heart Rate
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / drug effects*
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Neurons / virology
  • Respiratory Tract Diseases / virology
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism
  • Virion / metabolism*
  • Virus Internalization / drug effects*
  • Virus Release / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Ion Channels
  • Viral Proteins