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Metabolic remodeling occurs in immune cells during an infection. Host cells must upregulate energy production for growth, proliferation, and effector functions to limit the damage imposed by pathogens. One example, the hepatitis B virus, induces hepatic injury in human hepatocytes through dysregulation of aerobic glycolysis and lipid metabolism. Increased glycolytic metabolism mediated by elevated expression of Glut1, glucose influx, and lactate secretion is associated with this Warburg phenotype, a classic metabolic signature also observed in cancer cells. This article brings into focus the tight interaction between HBV infection and metabolic dysfunction and how these processes facilitate the progression of end-stage liver diseases, such as hepatocellular carcinoma. We also provide evidence and models by which other viruses such as HIV and Zika disrupt their host metabolic machinery. The emergence of the immunometabolism field provides novel opportunities to take advantage of intermediary metabolites and key metabolic pathways for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.
The authors would like to thank Catherine Cherry for proofreading the manuscript, and Keryn Lyn Masson for her assistance and technical advice. The authors gratefully acknowledge the contribution to this work of the Victorian Operational Infrastructure Support Program received by the Burnet Institute.