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PLoS One. 2009;4(1):e4233. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0004233. Epub 2009 Jan 21.

Secretion of hepatitis C virus envelope glycoproteins depends on assembly of apolipoprotein B positive lipoproteins.

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  • 1Université de Lyon, Lyon, France.

Abstract

The density of circulating hepatitis C virus (HCV) particles in the blood of chronically infected patients is very heterogeneous. The very low density of some particles has been attributed to an association of the virus with apolipoprotein B (apoB) positive and triglyceride rich lipoproteins (TRL) likely resulting in hybrid lipoproteins known as lipo-viro-particles (LVP) containing the viral envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2, capsid and viral RNA. The specific infectivity of these particles has been shown to be higher than the infectivity of particles of higher density. The nature of the association of HCV particles with lipoproteins remains elusive and the role of apolipoproteins in the synthesis and assembly of the viral particles is unknown. The human intestinal Caco-2 cell line differentiates in vitro into polarized and apoB secreting cells during asymmetric culture on porous filters. By using this cell culture system, cells stably expressing E1 and E2 secreted the glycoproteins into the basal culture medium after one week of differentiation concomitantly with TRL secretion. Secreted glycoproteins were only detected in apoB containing density fractions. The E1-E2 and apoB containing particles were unique complexes bearing the envelope glycoproteins at their surface since apoB could be co-immunoprecipitated with E2-specific antibodies. Envelope protein secretion was reduced by inhibiting the lipidation of apoB with an inhibitor of the microsomal triglyceride transfer protein. HCV glycoproteins were similarly secreted in association with TRL from the human liver cell line HepG2 but not by Huh-7 and Huh-7.5 hepatoma cells that proved deficient for lipoprotein assembly. These data indicate that HCV envelope glycoproteins have the intrinsic capacity to utilize apoB synthesis and lipoprotein assembly machinery even in the absence of the other HCV proteins. A model for LVP assembly is proposed.

PMID:
19156195
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2617766
Free PMC Article
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