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  • Hepacivirus
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  • 1
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2015, Vol.10(7), p.e0134529
    Description: Apolipoprotein E (ApoE), an exchangeable apolipoprotein, is necessary for production of infectious Hepatitis C virus (HCV) particles. However, ApoE is not the only liver-expressed apolipoprotein and the role of other apolipoproteins for production of infectious HCV progeny is incompletely defined. Therefore, we quantified mRNA expression of human apolipoproteins in primary human hepatocytes. Subsequently, cDNAs encoding apolipoproteins were expressed in 293T/miR-122 cells to explore if they complement HCV virus production in cells that are non-permissive due to limiting endogenous levels of human apolipoproteins. Primary human hepatocytes expressed high mRNA levels of ApoA1, A2, C1, C3, E, and H. ApoA4, A5, B, D, F, J, L1, L2, L3, L4, L6, M, and O were expressed at intermediate levels, and C2, C4, and L5 were not detected. All members of the ApoA and ApoC family of lipoproteins complemented HCV virus production in HCV transfected 293T/miR-122 cells, albeit with significantly lower efficacy compared with ApoE. In contrast, ApoD expression did not support production of infectious HCV. Specific infectivity of released particles complemented with ApoA family members was significantly lower compared with ApoE. Moreover, the ratio of extracellular to intracellular infectious virus was significantly higher for ApoE compared to ApoA2 and ApoC3. Since apolipoproteins complementing HCV virus production share amphipathic alpha helices as common structural features we altered the two alpha helices of ApoC1. Helix breaking mutations in both ApoC1 helices impaired virus assembly highlighting a critical role of alpha helices in apolipoproteins supporting HCV assembly. In summary, various liver expressed apolipoproteins with amphipathic alpha helices complement HCV virus production in human non liver cells. Differences in the efficiency of virus assembly, the specific infectivity of released particles, and the ratio between extracellular and intracellular infectivity point to distinct characteristics of these apolipoproteins that influence HCV assembly and cell entry. This will guide future research to precisely pinpoint how apolipoproteins function during virus assembly and cell entry.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 2
    Language: English
    In: PLoS ONE, 01 January 2014, Vol.9(3), p.e91502
    Description: As an RNA virus, hepatitis C virus (HCV) is able to rapidly acquire drug resistance, and for this reason the design of effective anti-HCV drugs is a real challenge. The HCV subgenomic replicon-containing cells are widely used for experimental studies of the HCV genome replication mechanisms, for drug testing in vitro and in studies of HCV drug resistance. The NS3/4A protease is essential for virus replication and, therefore, it is one of the most attractive targets for developing specific antiviral agents against HCV. We have developed a stochastic model of subgenomic HCV replicon replication, in which the emergence and selection of drug resistant mutant viral RNAs in replicon cells is taken into account. Incorporation into the model of key NS3 protease mutations leading to resistance to BILN-2061 (A156T, D168V, R155Q), VX-950 (A156S, A156T, T54A) and SCH 503034 (A156T, A156S, T54A) inhibitors allows us to describe the long term dynamics of the viral RNA suppression for various inhibitor concentrations. We theoretically showed that the observable difference between the viral RNA kinetics for different inhibitor concentrations can be explained by differences in the replication rate and inhibitor sensitivity of the mutant RNAs. The pre-existing mutants of the NS3 protease contribute more significantly to appearance of new resistant mutants during treatment with inhibitors than wild-type replicon. The model can be used to interpret the results of anti-HCV drug testing on replicon systems, as well as to estimate the efficacy of potential drugs and predict optimal schemes of their usage.
    Keywords: Sciences (General)
    E-ISSN: 1932-6203
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  • 3
    Language: English
    In: Virus Research, 15 June 2016, Vol.218, pp.96-101
    Description: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are a global health problem, and extensive research over the last decades has been targeted at understanding its molecular biology and developing effective antiviral treatments. Recently, a number of potent direct acting antiviral drugs have been developed targeting specific processes in the viral life cycle. Here, we developed a mathematical multi-scale model of the within-host dynamics of HCV infection by integrating a standard model for viral infection with a detailed model of the viral replication cycle inside infected cells. We use this model to study patient time courses of viral load under treatment with daclatasvir, an inhibitor of the viral non-structural protein NS5A. Model analysis predicts that treatment efficacy can be increased by combining daclatasvir with dedicated viral polymerase inhibitors, corresponding to promising current strategies in drug development. Hence, our model presents a predictive tool for simulations, which can be used to study and optimize direct acting antiviral drug treatment.
    Keywords: Hepatitis C Virus ; Viral Kinetics ; Pharmacodynamics ; Direct Acting Antiviral Treatment ; Ordinary Differential Equations Model ; Biology
    ISSN: 0168-1702
    E-ISSN: 1872-7492
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  • 4
    Language: English
    In: Hepatology (Baltimore, Md.), January 2014, Vol.59(1), pp.24-34
    Description: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) entry involves at least four cellular factors, including CD81, the scavenger receptor class B type I (SCARB-1), occludin (OCLN), and claudin-1 (CLDN1). In addition, CLDN6 and CLDN9 have been shown to substitute for CLDN1 as HCV entry factors in human nonliver cells. We examined the role of different CLDN proteins during HCV entry by using cell lines expressing either predominantly CLDN1 (Huh-7.5) or CLDN6 (HuH6). Huh-7.5 cells were susceptible to all tested HCV isolates, whereas HuH6 cells were only permissive to some viral strains. Silencing of CLDN6 in HuH6 cells revealed that these cells are infected in a CLDN6-dependent fashion, and ectopic expression of CLDN1 or CLDN6 in 293T cells lacking endogenous CLDN expression confirmed that only some HCV strains efficiently use CLDN6 for infection. CLDN1-specific neutralizing antibodies (Abs) fully abrogated infection of Huh-7.5 cells by isolates that use CLDN1 only, whereas viruses with broad CLDN tropism were only partially inhibited by these Abs. Importantly, infection by these latter strains in the presence of anti-CLDN1 Ab was further reduced by silencing CLDN6, suggesting that viruses with broad CLDN usage escape CLDN1-specific Abs by utilization of CLDN6. Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of HCV entry factors in liver biopsies of HCV patients infected with different genotype and with variable degree of liver fibrosis were determined. Uniformly high levels of CD81, SCARB-1, OCLN, and CLDN1 mRNA were detected. In contrast, abundance of CLDN6 mRNA was highly variable between patients. These findings highlight differential CLDN usage by HCV isolates, which may evolve based on variable expression of CLDN proteins in human liver cells. Broad CLDN tropism may facilitate viral escape from CLDN1-specific therapeutic strategies.
    Keywords: Viral Tropism ; Virus Internalization ; Claudin-1 -- Metabolism ; Claudins -- Metabolism ; Hepacivirus -- Physiology
    E-ISSN: 1527-3350
    Source: MEDLINE/PubMed (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
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  • 5
    Language: English
    In: Antiviral Research, 2011, Vol.89(2), pp.136-148
    Description: Infection with the hepatitis C virus represents a global public health threat given that an estimated 170 million individuals are chronically infected and thus at risk for cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. A number of direct antiviral molecules are in clinical development. However, side effects, drug resistance and viral genotype-specific differences in efficacy may limit these novel therapeutics. Therefore, a combination of well tolerated drugs with distinct mechanisms of action targeting different steps of the viral replication cycle will likely improve viral response rates and therapy success. To identify small molecules that interfere with different steps of the HCV replication cycle, we developed a novel dual reporter gene assay of the complete HCV life cycle and adapted it to 384-well high-throughput format. The system is based on a highly permissive Huh-7 cell line stably expressing a secreted luciferase. Using these cells and an efficient HCV luciferase reporter virus, perturbations of each step of the viral replication cycle as well as cell viability can be easily and quantitatively determined. The system was validated with a selected set of known HCV entry, replication and assembly inhibitors and then utilized to screen a library of small molecules derived from myxobacteria. Using this approach we identified a number of molecules that specifically inhibit HCV cell entry, or primarily virus assembly and release. Moreover, we also identified molecules that increase viral propagation. These compounds may be useful leads for development of novel HCV inhibitors and could be instrumental for the identification of as yet unknown host-derived viral resistance and dependency factors.
    Keywords: Hepatitis C Virus ; Chronic Liver Disease ; Hcv ; Viral Life Cycle ; Antiviral Therapy ; Tartrolon ; Medicine ; Biology
    ISSN: 0166-3542
    E-ISSN: 1872-9096
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  • 6
    In: Hepatology, January 2014, Vol.59(1), pp.24-34
    Description: Hepatitis C Virus (HCV) entry involves at least four cellular factors, including CD81, the scavenger receptor class B type I (SCARB‐1), occludin (OCLN), and claudin‐1 (CLDN1). In addition, CLDN6 and CLDN9 have been shown to substitute for CLDN1 as HCV entry factors in human nonliver cells. We examined the role of different CLDN proteins during HCV entry by using cell lines expressing either predominantly CLDN1 (Huh‐7.5) or CLDN6 (HuH6). Huh‐7.5 cells were susceptible to all tested HCV isolates, whereas HuH6 cells were only permissive to some viral strains. Silencing of CLDN6 in HuH6 cells revealed that these cells are infected in a CLDN6‐dependent fashion, and ectopic expression of CLDN1 or CLDN6 in 293T cells lacking endogenous CLDN expression confirmed that only some HCV strains efficiently use CLDN6 for infection. CLDN1‐specific neutralizing antibodies (Abs) fully abrogated infection of Huh‐7.5 cells by isolates that use CLDN1 only, whereas viruses with broad CLDN tropism were only partially inhibited by these Abs. Importantly, infection by these latter strains in the presence of anti‐CLDN1 Ab was further reduced by silencing CLDN6, suggesting that viruses with broad CLDN usage escape CLDN1‐specific Abs by utilization of CLDN6. Messenger RNA (mRNA) levels of HCV entry factors in liver biopsies of HCV patients infected with different genotype and with variable degree of liver fibrosis were determined. Uniformly high levels of CD81, SCARB‐1, OCLN, and CLDN1 mRNA were detected. In contrast, abundance of CLDN6 mRNA was highly variable between patients. : These findings highlight differential CLDN usage by HCV isolates, which may evolve based on variable expression of CLDN proteins in human liver cells. Broad CLDN tropism may facilitate viral escape from CLDN1‐specific therapeutic strategies. (H 2014;58:24–34)
    Keywords: Medicine;
    ISSN: 0270-9139
    E-ISSN: 1527-3350
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  • 7
    Language: English
    In: 2013, Vol.9(5), p.e1003355
    Description: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) p7 is a membrane-associated ion channel protein crucial for virus production. To analyze how p7 contributes to this process, we dissected HCV morphogenesis into sub-steps including recruitment of HCV core to lipid droplets (LD), virus capsid assembly, unloading of core protein from LDs and subsequent membrane envelopment of capsids. Interestingly, we observed accumulation of slowly sedimenting capsid-like structures lacking the viral envelope in cells transfected with HCV p7 mutant genomes which possess a defect in virion production. Concomitantly, core protein was enriched at the surface of LDs. This indicates a defect in core/capsid unloading from LDs and subsequent membrane envelopment rather than defective trafficking of core to this cellular organelle. Protease and ribonuclease digestion protection assays, rate zonal centrifugation and native, two dimensional gel electrophoresis revealed increased amounts of high-order, non-enveloped core protein complexes unable to protect viral RNA in cells transfected with p7 mutant genomes. These results suggest accumulation of capsid assembly intermediates that had not yet completely incorporated viral RNA in the absence of functional p7. Thus, functional p7 is necessary for the final steps of capsid assembly as well as for capsid envelopment. These results support a model where capsid assembly is linked with membrane envelopment of nascent RNA-containing core protein multimers, a process coordinated by p7. In summary, we provide novel insights into the sequence of HCV assembly events and essential functions of p7. ; Viroporins are small hydrophobic viral membrane proteins which oligomerize and modulate membrane properties to facilitate virus propagation. Within their membrane environment these proteins can form membrane pores or channels which change the permeability of membranes for ions. These properties are known to contribute to release of infectious enveloped virus particles from infected cells and/or to facilitate viral cell entry by catalyzing virus uncoating. In case of HCV, p7 function is essential for production of infectious progeny and its ion channel activity is well documented and in cell-based systems. Recent evidence indicated that p7 channel activity dissipates the low pH of the cellular secretory compartment thus protecting the viral glycoproteins from low pH induced misfolding and inactivation. In this investigation we highlight the involvement of the p7 ion channel in the assembly and envelopment of viral RNA-containing capsids. Our results indicate that p7, likely in concert with the viral envelope proteins, comprises a membrane-bound recipient complex that provides a scaffold to initiate unloading of core protein from lipid droplets for capsid assembly and membrane envelopment. Collectively, these findings highlight novel facets of p7 function in the course of HCV morphogenesis.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology
    ISSN: 1553-7366
    E-ISSN: 1553-7374
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  • 8
    Language: English
    In: 2013, Vol.9(8), p.e1003561
    Description: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection develops into chronicity in 80% of all patients, characterized by persistent low-level replication. To understand how the virus establishes its tightly controlled intracellular RNA replication cycle, we developed the first detailed mathematical model of the initial dynamic phase of the intracellular HCV RNA replication. We therefore quantitatively measured viral RNA and protein translation upon synchronous delivery of viral genomes to host cells, and thoroughly validated the model using additional, independent experiments. Model analysis was used to predict the efficacy of different classes of inhibitors and identified sensitive substeps of replication that could be targeted by current and future therapeutics. A protective replication compartment proved to be essential for sustained RNA replication, balancing translation versus replication and thus effectively limiting RNA amplification. The model predicts that host factors involved in the formation of this compartment determine cellular permissiveness to HCV replication. In gene expression profiling, we identified several key processes potentially determining cellular HCV replication efficiency. ; Hepatitis C is a severe disease and a prime cause for liver transplantation. Up to 3% of the world's population are chronically infected with its causative agent, the Hepatitis C virus (HCV). This capacity to establish long (decades) lasting persistent infection sets HCV apart from other plus-strand RNA viruses typically causing acute, self-limiting infections. A prerequisite for its capacity to persist is HCV's complex and tightly regulated intracellular replication strategy. In this study, we therefore wanted to develop a comprehensive understanding of the molecular processes governing HCV RNA replication in order to pinpoint the most vulnerable substeps in the viral life cycle. For that purpose, we used a combination of biological experiments and mathematical modeling. Using the model to study HCV's replication strategy, we recognized diverse but crucial roles for the membraneous replication compartment of HCV in regulating RNA amplification. We further predict the existence of an essential limiting host factor (or function) required for establishing active RNA replication and thereby determining cellular permissiveness for HCV. Our model also proved valuable to understand and predict the effects of pharmacological inhibitors of HCV and might be a solid basis for the development of similar models for other plus-strand RNA viruses.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Medicine
    ISSN: 1553-7366
    E-ISSN: 1553-7374
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  • 9
    Language: English
    In: PLoS Pathogens, 2012, Vol.8(7), p.e1002829
    Description: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has infected around 160 million individuals. Current therapies have limited efficacy and are fraught with side effects. To identify cellular HCV dependency factors, possible therapeutic targets, we manipulated signaling cascades with pathway-specific inhibitors. Using this approach we identified the MAPK/ERK regulated, cytosolic, calcium-dependent, group IVA phospholipase A2 (PLA2G4A) as a novel HCV dependency factor. Inhibition of PLA2G4A activity reduced core protein abundance at lipid droplets, core envelopment and secretion of particles. Moreover, released particles displayed aberrant protein composition and were 100-fold less infectious. Exogenous addition of arachidonic acid, the cleavage product of PLA2G4A-catalyzed lipolysis, but not other related poly-unsaturated fatty acids restored infectivity. Strikingly, production of infectious Dengue virus, a relative of HCV, was also dependent on PLA2G4A. These results highlight previously unrecognized parallels in the assembly pathways of these human pathogens, and define PLA2G4A-dependent lipolysis as crucial prerequisite for production of highly infectious viral progeny. ; The human genome encodes more than 30 phospholipase A2s. These enzymes cleave fatty acids at the C2 atom of phosphoglycerides and thus modulate membrane properties. Among all PLA2s only PLA2G4A, which is recruited to perinuclear membranes by Ca and activated by extracellular stimuli via the mitogen activated protein kinase pathway, specifically cleaves lipids with arachidonic acid. Metabolism of arachidonic acid yields prostaglandins and leukotriens, important lipid mediators of inflammation. We show that inhibition of PLA2G4A produces aberrant HCV particles and that infectivity is rescued by addition of arachidonic acid. Our results suggest that a specific lipid (arachidonic acid) is essential for production of highly infectious HCV progeny, likely by creating a membrane environment conducive for efficient incorporation of crucial host and viral factors into the lipid envelope of nascent particles. Strikingly, PLA2G4A is also essential for production of highly infectious Dengue Virus (DENV) particles but not for vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV). These observations argue that HCV and DENV which unlike VSV produce particles at intracellular membranes usurp a common host factor (PLA2G4A) for assembly of highly infectious progeny. These findings open new perspectives for antiviral intervention and highlight thus far unrecognized parallels in the assembly pathway of HCV and DENV.
    Keywords: Research Article ; Biology ; Medicine ; Infectious Diseases ; Molecular Biology ; Cell Biology ; Gastroenterology And Hepatology
    ISSN: 1553-7366
    E-ISSN: 1553-7374
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  • 10
    Language: English
    In: Mailly, L., F. Xiao, J. Lupberger, G. K. Wilson, P. Aubert, F. H. T. Duong, D. Calabrese, et al. 2015. “Clearance of persistent hepatitis C virus infection using a claudin-1-targeting monoclonal antibody.” Nature biotechnology 33 (5): 549-554. doi:10.1038/nbt.3179. http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt.3179.
    Description: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a leading cause of liver cirrhosis and cancer1. Cell entry of HCV2 and other pathogens3-5 is mediated by tight junction (TJ) proteins, but successful therapeutic targeting of TJ proteins has not been reported yet. Using a human liver-chimeric mouse model6 we show that a monoclonal antibody specific for TJ protein claudin-17 eliminates chronic HCV infection without detectable toxicity. This antibody inhibits HCV entry, cell-cell transmission and virus-induced signaling events. Antibody treatment reduces the number of HCV-infected hepatocytes in vivo, highlighting the need for de novo infection via host entry factors to maintain chronic infection. In summary, we demonstrate that an antibody targeting a virus receptor can cure chronic viral infection and uncover TJ proteins as targets for antiviral therapy.
    Keywords: Medicine ; Engineering ; Biology;
    ISSN: 1087-0156
    E-ISSN: 15461696
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