Plant positive strand RNA viruses are intracellular infectious agents that take advantage of cellular lipids and membranes to support replication and protect viral RNA from degradation by host antiviral responses. In this review, we discuss how Tomato bushy stunt virus (TBSV) co-opts lipid transfer proteins and modulates lipid metabolism and transport to facilitate the assembly of the membrane-bound viral replicase complexes within intricate replication compartments. Identification and characterization of the proviral roles of specific lipids and proteins involved in lipid metabolism based on results from yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae) model host and cell-free approaches are discussed. The review also highlights the advantage of using liposomes with chemically defined composition to identify specific lipids required for TBSV replication. Remarkably, all the known steps in TBSV replication are dependent on cellular lipids and co-opted membranes.

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Published in Viruses, v. 8, issue 3, 68, p. 1-10.

© 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons by Attribution (CC-BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

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This work was supported by the National Science Foundation (MCB-1122039), and the Kentucky Science Foundation to PDN.