From infection to cancer: how DNA tumour viruses alter host cell central carbon and lipid metabolism

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Infections cause 13% of all cancers globally, and DNA tumour viruses account for almost 60% of these cancers. All viruses are obligate intracellular parasites and hijack host cell functions to replicate and complete their life cycles to produce progeny virions. While many aspects of viral manipulation of host cells have been studied, how DNA tumour viruses manipulate host cell metabolism and whether metabolic alterations in the virus life cycle contribute to carcinogenesis are not well understood. In this review, we compare the differences in central carbon and fatty acid metabolism in host cells following infection, oncogenic transformation, and virus-driven cancer of DNA tumour viruses including: Epstein-Barr virus, hepatitis B virus, human papillomavirus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus and Merkel cell polyomavirus.


Original languageEnglish
Article number210004
JournalOpen Biology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021


  • oncogenic DNA viruses, virus–host interactions, metabolism, lipid, central carbon