Flavivirus Replication Organelle Biogenesis in the Endoplasmic Reticulum: Comparison with Other Single-Stranded Positive-Sense RNA Viruses

Int J Mol Sci. 2019 May 11;20(9):2336. doi: 10.3390/ijms20092336.


Some single-stranded positive-sense RNA [ssRNA(+)] viruses, including Flavivirus, generate specific organelle-like structures in the host endoplasmic reticulum (ER). These structures are called virus replication organelles and consist of two distinct subdomains, the vesicle packets (VPs) and the convoluted membranes (CMs). The VPs are clusters of small vesicle compartments and are considered to be the site of viral genome replication. The CMs are electron-dense amorphous structures observed in proximity to the VPs, but the exact roles of CMs are mostly unknown. Several recent studies have revealed that flaviviruses recruit several host factors that are usually used for the biogenesis of other conventional organelles and usurp their function to generate virus replication organelles. In the current review, we summarize recent studies focusing on the role of host factors in the formation of virus replication organelles and discuss how these intricate membrane structures are organized.

Keywords: ESCRT; autophagy; endoplasmic reticulum; flavivirus; phosphatidylinositol; reticulons.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autophagosomes / metabolism
  • Autophagosomes / ultrastructure
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum / ultrastructure
  • Flavivirus / physiology*
  • Organelle Biogenesis*
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication / physiology*


  • RNA, Viral