Human muscle cells sensitivity to chikungunya virus infection relies on their glycolysis activity and differentiation stage

Biochimie. 2023 Sep 14;S0300-9084(23)00214-6. doi: 10.1016/j.biochi.2023.09.005. Online ahead of print.


Changes to our environment have led to the emergence of human pathogens such as chikungunya virus. Chikungunya virus infection is today a major public health concern. It is a debilitating chronic disease impeding patients' mobility, affecting millions of people. Disease development relies on skeletal muscle infection. The importance of skeletal muscle in chikungunya virus infection led to the hypothesis that it could serve as a viral reservoir and could participate to virus persistence. Here we questioned the interconnection between skeletal muscle cells metabolism, their differentiation stage and the infectivity of the chikungunya virus. We infected human skeletal muscle stem cells at different stages of differentiation with chikungunya virus to study the impact of their metabolism on virus production and inversely the impact of virus on cell metabolism. We observed that chikungunya virus infectivity is cell differentiation and metabolism-dependent. Chikungunya virus interferes with the cellular metabolism in quiescent undifferentiated and proliferative muscle cells. Moreover, activation of chikungunya infected quiescent muscle stem cells, induces their proliferation, increases glycolysis and amplifies virus production. Therefore, our results showed that Chikungunya virus infectivity and the antiviral response of skeletal muscle cells relies on their energetic metabolism and their differentiation stage. Then, muscle stem cells could serve as viral reservoir producing virus after their activation.

Keywords: Chikungunya virus; Human skeletal muscle; Metabolism; Stem cells; Viral infection; Viral reservoir.