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J Gen Virol. 2005 Aug;86(Pt 8):2197-208.

Hepatitis C virus NS3 protein interacts with ELKS-{delta} and ELKS-{alpha}, members of a novel protein family involved in intracellular transport and secretory pathways.

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  • 1Division of Microbiology, Kobe University Graduate School of Medicine, 7-5-1 Kusunoki-cho, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0017, Japan.


The NS3 protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) has a serine protease activity in its N-terminal region, which plays a crucial role in virus replication. This region has also been reported to interact not only with its viral cofactor NS4A, but also with a number of host-cell proteins, which suggests a multifunctional feature of NS3. By means of yeast two-hybrid screening using an N-terminal region of NS3 as bait, a human cDNA encoding a region of ELKS-delta, a member of a novel family of proteins involved in intracellular transport and secretory pathways, was molecularly cloned. Using co-immunoprecipitation, GST pull-down and confocal and immunoelectron microscopic analyses, it was shown that full-length NS3 interacted physically with full-length ELKS-delta and its splice variant, ELKS-alpha, both in the absence and presence of NS4A, in cultured human cells, including Huh-7 cells harbouring an HCV subgenomic RNA replicon. The degree of binding to ELKS-delta varied with different sequences of the N-terminal 180 residues of NS3. Interestingly, NS3, either full-length or N-terminal fragments, enhanced secretion of secreted alkaline phosphatase (SEAP) from the cells, and the increase in SEAP secretion correlated well with the degree of binding between NS3 and ELKS-delta. Taken together, these results suggest the possibility that NS3 plays a role in modulating host-cell functions such as intracellular transport and secretion through its binding to ELKS-delta and ELKS-alpha, which may facilitate the virus life cycle and/or mediate the pathogenesis of HCV.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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