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Virology. 2005 Jun 5;336(2):144-53.

Enveloped particles in the serum of chronic hepatitis C patients.

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INSERM U271, 151 Cours Albert Thomas, 69424 Lyon Cedex 03, France.


HCV particles were isolated from the plasma of chronically infected patients. The virus was analysed by sucrose density gradient centrifugation. The fractions were tested for viral RNA, core antigen and envelope proteins by using a monoclonal antibody directed against the natural E1E2 complex (D32.10). Two populations of particles containing RNA plus core antigen were separated: the first with a density of 1.06-1.08 g/ml did not contain the envelope proteins; the second with a density between 1.17 and 1.21 g/ml expressed both E1 and E2 glycoproteins. Electron microscopy of the enveloped population after immunoprecipitation with D32.10 showed spherical particles with a rather featureless surface and with a diameter around 40 nm. Immuno-gold staining gave evidence that the E1E2 complex was indeed positioned at the surface of these particles.

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