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J Hepatol. 2002 Feb;36(2):254-62.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) E1 and E2 protein regions that specifically bind to HepG2 cells.

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Fundación Instituto de Inmunologia de Colombia, Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Avda. Calle 26 No. 51-60 Bogota, Colombia.



Identify hepatitis C virus (HCV) sequences in E1 and E2 protein binding to HepG2.


Synthetic 20-mer long, ten-residue overlapped peptides, from E1 and E2 proteins, were tested in HepG2 or Raji cell-binding assays. Affinity constants, binding site number per cell and Hill coefficients were determined by saturation assay for high activity binding peptides (HABPs). Receptors for HepG2 cell were determined by cross-linking and sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis analysis.


Twelve HABPs were found in HCV genotype 1a, allowing six hepatocyte-binding sequences (HBSs) to be defined: two peptide-binding regions in E1 HABPs 4913 (YQVRNSTGLYHVTNDCPNSS) and 4918 (MTPTVATRDGKLPATQLRRHY). Four hepatocyte-binding regions were defined in E2: region-I, peptide 4931 (ETHVTGGSAGHTVSGFVSLLY); region-II, 4937-4939 (HHKFNSSGCPERLASCRPLTDFDQGWGPISYANGSGPDQR); region-III, 4943-4945 (PVYCFTPSPVVVGTTDRSGAPTYSWGENDTDVFVLNNTR) and region-IV, 4949-4952 (CGAPPCVIGGAGNNTLHCPTDCFRKHPDATYSRCGSGPWITPRCLVDYPY). The underlined sequences are most relevant in the binding process. HABPs 4913 and 4938 also bind to CD81 positive Raji cells. Region-II 4938 HABPs bind to 50 and 60kDa HepG2 cell membrane surface proteins.


Six HVRs to the HepG2 were identified. Some HABPs have been previously found to be antigenic and immunogenic. HABPs, 4918 (from E1), 4938, 4949, 4950, 4951 and 4952 (from E2) have not been previously recognised. These HABPs could be relevant to HCV invasion of hepatocytes.

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