An Overview of the Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) and Autophagy Pathways in Human Viral Oncogenesis

Int Rev Cell Mol Biol. 2024:386:81-131. doi: 10.1016/bs.ircmb.2024.01.004. Epub 2024 Feb 22.


Autophagy and Unfolded Protein Response (UPR) can be regarded as the safe keepers of cells exposed to intense stress. Autophagy maintains cellular homeostasis, ensuring the removal of foreign particles and misfolded macromolecules from the cytoplasm and facilitating the return of the building blocks into the system. On the other hand, UPR serves as a shock response to prolonged stress, especially Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress (ERS), which also includes the accumulation of misfolded proteins in the ER. Since one of the many effects of viral infection on the host cell machinery is the hijacking of the host translational system, which leaves in its wake a plethora of misfolded proteins in the ER, it is perhaps not surprising that UPR and autophagy are common occurrences in infected cells, tissues, and patient samples. In this book chapter, we try to emphasize how UPR, and autophagy are significant in infections caused by six major oncolytic viruses-Epstein-Barr (EBV), Human Papilloma Virus (HPV), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), Human Herpesvirus-8 (HHV-8), Human T-cell Lymphotropic Virus (HTLV-1), and Hepatitis B Virus (HBV). Here, we document how whole-virus infection or overexpression of individual viral proteins in vitro and in vivo models can regulate the different branches of UPR and the various stages of macro autophagy. As is true with other viral infections, the relationship is complicated because the same virus (or the viral protein) exerts different effects on UPR and Autophagy. The nature of this response is determined by the cell types, or in some cases, the presence of diverse extracellular stimuli. The vice versa is equally valid, i.e., UPR and autophagy exhibit both anti-tumor and pro-tumor properties based on the cell type and other factors like concentrations of different metabolites. Thus, we have tried to coherently summarize the existing knowledge, the crux of which can hopefully be harnessed to design vaccines and therapies targeted at viral carcinogenesis.

Keywords: ATF6; Autophagy; CHOP; EBV; ERS; HHV-8; HIV; HPV; HTLV-1; IRE1-α; PERK; UPR.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autophagy*
  • Carcinogenesis / metabolism
  • Carcinogenesis / pathology
  • Endoplasmic Reticulum Stress
  • Humans
  • Unfolded Protein Response*