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Virology. 2002 Apr 10;295(2):272-83.

An altered cellular response to interferon and up-regulation of interleukin-8 induced by the hepatitis C viral protein NS5A uncovered by microarray analysis.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor 48109-0666, USA.


There is evidence for an inhibition of interferon-alpha antiviral activity by the hepatitis C viral protein, NS5A. To identify the mechanisms through which NS5A blocks interferon activity, we compared the gene expression profile of interferon-treated Huh7 cells, stably expressing NS5A with control, using microarrays. Following interferon treatment, 50 genes were up-regulated by at least twofold in control clones, whereas induction of 9 of the 50 genes was significantly reduced in NS5A-expressing clones. The strongest effect of NS5A on interferon response was observed for the OAS-p69 gene. Remarkably, Huh7 cells expressing NS5A showed an up-regulation of interleukin-8. Up-regulation of interleukin-8 was also observed upon transient expression of NS5A mutants isolated from patients responsive or resistant to interferon therapy. Addition of interleukin-8 to Huh7 cells inhibited the antiviral activity of interferon and, similarly to NS5A, reduced the induction by interferon-alpha of selective genes including OAS-p69. Our findings provide a mechanism for NS5A-mediated interferon resistance.

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