Control of core cell metabolism is a key aspect of the evolutionary conflict between viruses and the host’s defence mechanisms. From their side, the invading viruses press the accelerator on their host cell’s glycolysis, fatty acid, and glutaminolytic metabolic processes among others. It is also well established that activation of innate immune system responses modulates facets of metabolism such as that of polyamine, cholesterol, tryptophan and many more. But what about glutamine, a proteogenic amino acid that is a crucial nutrient for multiple cellular biosynthetic processes? Although mammalian cells can normally synthesize glutamine de novo, it has been noted that infections with genetically and phylogenetically diverse viruses are followed by the acquisition of a dependency on supplies of exogenous glutamine i.e. “glutamine addiction”. Here we present our novel hypothesis that glutamine metabolism is also a target of the innate immune system, possibly through the action of interferons, as part of the evolutionary conserved antiviral metabolic reprogramming.
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