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Viral Immunol. 2002;15(1):95-119.

To interfere and to anti-interfere: the interplay between hepatitis C virus and interferon.

Author information

  • 1Department of Microbiology, School of Medicine, University of Washington, 98195, USA.

Abstract

As popular strategies used by numerous viruses, interception of interferon (IFN) signaling and inhibition of IFN-induced antiviral functions allow viruses to evade the host immune response and set up successful infections. Hepatitis C virus (HCV), the leading cause of chronic liver disease worldwide and a major public health hazard, causes persistent infection in the majority of infected individuals. IFN-based therapies, currently the only ones available for HCV infection, have been unable to eliminate viral infection in the majority of patients, and many studies suggest that HCV possesses mechanisms to antagonize the IFN-induced antiviral response. Multiple viral, host, and IFN-associated factors have been implicated in the interplay between HCV and IFN. Two viral proteins, NS5A and E2, became the focus of much attention and extensive study because of their abilities to inhibit IFN-induced, double-stranded RNA-activated protein kinase (PKR), a major mediator of the IFN-induced biologic response, and to perturb the IFN signaling pathway. In this review, we discuss the significance of the interferon sensitivity determining region (ISDR) within NS5A, which has been the subject of intense debates. In addition, we discuss the potential mechanisms by which NS5A interferes with IFN signaling and the current working models. Further understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the interaction between HCV and IFN will likely facilitate improvement of current IFN-based therapies and development of novel treatments for the HCV pandemic. Future HCV research will benefit from both the development of efficient, convenient model systems for viral propagation, and the utilization of high throughput, genomic-scale approaches.

PMID:
11952150
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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