11. January 2022
New publi­ca­tion by Yannick Stahl
© Hector Fellow Academy

Paper by Yannick Stahl and Ralf Barten­schlager published in the journal Nature Communications

Chronic hepati­tis C and COVID-19 currently pose major medical challenges and are respon­si­ble for millions of deaths. Both diseases are caused by viral infec­tions. Chronic hepati­tis C is caused by a persis­tent infec­tion with the hepati­tis C virus, while COVID-19 is due to acute infec­tion with the severe acute respi­ra­tory syndrome coronavirus‑2 (SARS-CoV‑2). Both viruses are biolog­i­cally very differ­ent from each other but have a few things in common.

The viruses both have single-stranded RNA genomes with positive polar­ity that is repli­cated in membra­nous vesicles in the cytoplasm of infected cells.

So far, lipids driving the forma­tion of these membrance vesicles are largely unexplored. In their paper, the team, with the collab­o­ra­tion of Yannick Stahl and Ralf Barten­schlager, shows that the produc­tion of the lipid phospha­tidic acid (PA) by the enzyme acylglyc­erolphos­phate acyltrans­ferase is impor­tant for the biogen­e­sis of the membrance vesicles in viral replication.

Host-directed therapy target­ing phospha­tidic acid synthe­sis pathways may thus offer new approaches for thera­peu­tic inter­ven­tions in order to better fight COVID-19 and hepati­tis C.

Congrat­u­la­tions to Yannick Stahl and Ralf Bartenschlager!