Respiratory and arthropod-borne viral infections are a global threat due to the lack of effective antivirals and vaccines. A potential strategy is to target host proteins required for viruses but non-essential for the host. To identify such proteins, we performed a genome-wide knockout screen in human haploid cells and identified the calcium pump SPCA1. SPCA1 is required by viruses from the Paramyxoviridae, Flaviviridae, and Togaviridae families, including measles, dengue, West Nile, Zika, and chikungunya viruses. Calcium transport activity is required for SPCA1 to promote virus spread. SPCA1 regulates proteases within the trans-Golgi network that require calcium for their activity and are critical for virus glycoprotein maturation. Consistent with these findings, viral glycoproteins fail to mature in SPCA1-deficient cells preventing viral spread, which is evident even in cells with partial loss of SPCA1. Thus, SPCA1 is an attractive antiviral host target for a broad spectrum of established and emerging viral infections.
Endogenous retroviral sequences provide a molecular fossil record of ancient infections whose analysis might illuminate mechanisms of viral extinction. A close relative of gammaretroviruses, HERV-T, circulated in primates for ~25 million years (MY) before apparent extinction within the past ~8 MY. Construction of a near-complete catalog of HERV-T fossils in primate genomes allowed us to estimate a ~32 MY old ancestral sequence and reconstruct a functional envelope protein (ancHTenv) that could support infection of a pseudotyped modern gammaretrovirus. Using ancHTenv, we identify monocarboxylate transporter-1 (MCT-1) as a receptor used by HERV-T for attachment and infection. A single HERV-T provirus in hominid genomes includes an env gene (hsaHTenv) that has been uniquely preserved. This apparently exapted HERV-T env could not support virion infection but could block ancHTenv mediated infection, by causing MCT-1 depletion from cell surfaces. Thus, hsaHTenv may have contributed to HERV-T extinction, and could also potentially regulate cellular metabolism.