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Gut. 2009 Apr;58(4):560-9. doi: 10.1136/gut.2007.147264. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

Cleavage of the IPS-1/Cardif/MAVS/VISA does not inhibit T cell-mediated elimination of hepatitis C virus non-structural 3/4A-expressing hepatocytes.

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  • 1Division of Clinical Microbiology, Karolinska Institutet at Karolinska University Hospital Huddinge, Stockholm, Sweden.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) effectively establishes persistent infection in human livers. The non-structural (NS) 3/4A complex participates in this process by cleavage of interferon beta (IFN beta) promoter stimulator-1 (IPS-1; also termed Cardif/MAVS/VISA), which inhibits responses to double stranded (ds) RNA. However, it is not known whether this effect extends beyond innate responses.

AIMS:

To test if HCV NS3/4A affects innate and adaptive immune responses in vivo.

METHODS:

NS3 levels were semi-quantified in human liver biopsies, transfected cells, and in transgenic (Tg) mouse livers by western blot. The effect of NS3/4A on dsRNA-mediated signalling and on the integrity of IPS-1 was analysed using in vitro translation, transfected cells and Tg mice. Cytotoxic T cell (CTL)-mediated clearance of transient firefly luciferase (FLuc)- and/or NS3/4A-Tg hepatocytes was determined using in vivo imaging and western blot.

RESULTS:

NS3 protein levels were in a comparable range (0.1-49 microg/g tissue) in infected human livers and Tg mouse livers. Importantly, these levels of NS3/4A reduced murine innate responses to synthetic dsRNA in vivo, supporting the possibility that this occurs also in infected humans. The likely explanation for this was the NS3/4A-mediated cleavage of mouse IPS-1, albeit less efficiently than human IPS-1. Despite this, FLuc- and/or NS3/4A-expressing murine hepatocytes were effectively eliminated by hepatic CTLs, utilising the classical molecules for virus-infected cell lysis, including CD8, IFN gamma, perforin and FasL.

CONCLUSIONS:

Although HCV NS3/4A inhibits the innate immunity, this does not prevent CTL-mediated clearance of NS3/4A-expressing hepatocytes in vivo. Thus, other HCV proteins are most likely responsible for interfering with the adaptive immunity.

PMID:
18689426
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2648966
Free PMC Article
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