Polyamines are small, abundant, aliphatic molecules present in all mammalian cells. Within the context of the cell, they play a myriad of roles, from modulating nucleic acid conformation to promoting cellular proliferation and signaling. In addition, polyamines have emerged as important molecules in virus-host interactions. Many viruses have been shown to require polyamines for one or more aspects of their replication cycle, including DNA and RNA polymerization, nucleic acid packaging, and protein synthesis. Understanding the role of polyamines has become easier with the application of small-molecule inhibitors of polyamine synthesis and the use of interferon-induced regulators of polyamines. Here we review the diverse mechanisms in which viruses require polyamines and investigate blocking polyamine synthesis as a potential broad-spectrum antiviral approach.
Keywords: DNA virus; RNA virus; eIF5A; polyamines.
Copyright © 2017 American Society for Microbiology.