TMEM41B is a pan-flavivirus host factor

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
H-Heinrich HoffmannC M Rice


Flaviviruses pose a constant threat to human health. These RNA viruses are transmitted by the bite of infected mosquitoes and ticks and regularly cause outbreaks. To identify host factors required for flavivirus infection we performed full-genome loss of function CRISPR-Cas9 screens. Based on these results we focused our efforts on characterizing the roles that TMEM41B and VMP1 play in the virus replication cycle. Our mechanistic studies on TMEM41B revealed that all members of the Flaviviridae family that we tested require TMEM41B. We tested 12 additional virus families and found that SARS-CoV-2 of the Coronaviridae also required TMEM41B for infection. Remarkably, single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) present at nearly twenty percent in East Asian populations reduce flavivirus infection. Based on our mechanistic studies we hypothesize that TMEM41B is recruited to flavivirus RNA replication complexes to facilitate membrane curvature, which creates a protected environment for viral genome replication. TMEM41B and VMP1 are required for both autophagy and flavivirus infection, however, autophagy is not required for flavivirus infection.TMEM41B associates with viral proteins and likely facilitates membrane remodeling to establish v...Continue Reading


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