In this study, we used a systems biology approach to investigate changes in the proteome and metabolome of shrimp hemocytes infected by the invertebrate virus WSSV (white spot syndrome virus) at the viral genome replication stage (12 hpi) and the late stage (24 hpi). At 12 hpi, but not at 24 hpi, there was significant up-regulation of the markers of several metabolic pathways associated with the vertebrate Warburg effect (or aerobic glycolysis), including glycolysis, the pentose phosphate pathway, nucleotide biosynthesis, glutaminolysis and amino acid biosynthesis. We show that the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway was of central importance in triggering this WSSV-induced Warburg effect. Although dsRNA silencing of the mTORC1 activator Rheb had only a relatively minor impact on WSSV replication, in vivo chemical inhibition of Akt, mTORC1 and mTORC2 suppressed the WSSV-induced Warburg effect and reduced both WSSV gene expression and viral genome replication. When the Warburg effect was suppressed by pretreatment with the mTOR inhibitor Torin 1, even the subsequent up-regulation of the TCA cycle was insufficient to satisfy the virus's requirements for energy and macromolecular precursors. The WSSV-induced Warburg effect therefore appears to be essential for successful viral replication.
The Warburg effect (or aerobic glycolysis) is a metabolic shift that was first found in cancer cells, but has also recently been discovered in vertebrate cells infected by viruses. The Warburg effect facilitates the production of more energy and building blocks to meet the enormous biosynthetic requirements of cancerous and virus-infected cells. To date, all of our knowledge of the Warburg effect comes from vertebrate cell systems and our previous paper was the first to suggest that the Warburg effect may also occur in invertebrates. Here, we use a state-of-the-art systems biology approach to show the global metabolomic and proteomic changes that are triggered in shrimp hemocytes by a shrimp virus, white spot syndrome virus (WSSV). We characterize several critical metabolic properties of the invertebrate Warburg effect and show that they are similar to the vertebrate Warburg effect. WSSV triggers aerobic glycolysis via the PI3K-Akt-mTOR pathway, and during the WSSV genome replication stages, we show that the Warburg effect is essential for the virus, because even when the TCA cycle is boosted in mTOR-inactivated shrimp, this fails to provide enough energy and materials for successful viral replication. Our study provides new insights into the rerouting of the host metabolome that is triggered by an invertebrate virus.