Zika virus (ZIKV) has emerged as an important human pathogen that can cause congenital defects in the fetus and neurological conditions in adults. The interferon (IFN) system has proven crucial in restricting ZIKV replication and pathogenesis. The canonical IFN response is triggered by the detection of viral RNA through RIG-I like receptors followed by activation of the adaptor protein MAVS on mitochondrial membranes. Recent studies have shown that a second organelle, peroxisomes, also function as a signaling platforms for the IFN response. Here, we investigated how ZIKV infection affects peroxisome biogenesis and antiviral signaling. We show that ZIKV infection depletes peroxisomes in human fetal astrocytes, a brain cell type that can support persistent infection. The peroxisome biogenesis factor PEX11B was shown to inhibit ZIKV replication, likely by increasing peroxisome numbers and enhancing downstream IFN-dependent antiviral signaling. Given that peroxisomes play critical roles in brain development and nerve function, our studies provide important insights into the roles of peroxisomes in regulating ZIKV infection and potentially neuropathogenesis.
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