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Viruses regulate host metabolic networks to improve their survival. The molecules that are responsive to viral infection and regulate such metabolic changes are hardly known, but are essential for understanding viral infection. Here we identify a long noncoding RNA (lncRNA) that is induced by multiple viruses, but not by type I interferon (IFN-I), and facilitates viral replication in mouse and human cells. In vivo deficiency of lncRNA-ACOD1 (a lncRNA identified by its nearest coding gene Acod1, aconitate decarboxylase 1) significantly attenuates viral infection through IFN-I-IRF3 (interferon regulatory factor 3)-independent pathways. Cytoplasmic lncRNA-ACOD1 directly binds the metabolic enzyme glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase (GOT2) near the substrate niche, enhancing its catalytic activity. Recombinant GOT2 protein and its metabolites could rescue viral replication upon lncRNA-ACOD1 deficiency and increase lethality. This work reveals a feedback mechanism of virus-induced lncRNA-mediated metabolic promotion of viral infection and a potential target for developing broad-acting antiviral therapeutics.

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We all know what RNA does don’t we? It binds to other RNAs and to DNA. Sure lots of new forms of RNA have been found: microRNAs, competitive endogenous RNA (ceRNA), long nonCoding (for protein) RNA (lncRNA), piwiRNAs, small interfering RNAs (siRNAs),...