Retasking of canonical antiviral factors into proviral effectors

Cason R King and Andrew Mehle. Current Opinion in Virology. 56, 101271 (2022).

Under constant barrage by viruses, hosts have evolved a plethora of antiviral effectors and defense mechanisms. To survive, viruses must adapt to evade or subvert these defenses while still capturing cellular resources to fuel their replication cycles. Large-scale studies of the antiviral activities of cellular proteins and processes have shown that different viruses are controlled by distinct subsets of antiviral genes. The remaining antiviral genes are either ineffective in controlling infection, or in some cases, actually promote infection. In these cases, classically defined antiviral factors are retasked by viruses to enhance viral replication. This creates a more nuanced picture revealing the contextual nature of antiviral activity. The same protein can exert different effects on replication, depending on multiple factors, including the host, the target cells, and the specific virus infecting it. Here, we review numerous examples of viruses hijacking canonically antiviral proteins and retasking them for proviral purposes.