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J Gen Virol. 2005 Nov;86(Pt 11):3075-80.

Development and characterization of a transient-replication assay for the genotype 2a hepatitis C virus subgenomic replicon.

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MRC Virology Unit, Institute of Virology, Church Street, Glasgow G11 5JR, UK.


Dicistronic, subgenomic hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicons were constructed containing sequences from JFH1, a genotype 2a strain, that also incorporated the firefly luciferase gene under the control of the HCV internal ribosome entry site element. Luciferase activity in Huh-7 cell extracts containing in vitro-transcribed subgenomic JFH1 RNA was monitored over a 72 h period to examine early stages of HCV replication in the absence of any selective pressure. Enzyme activities produced by the replicon were almost 200-fold greater than those generated from corresponding genotype 1b replicons and correlated with an accumulation of NS5A protein and replicon RNA. Transient replication was sensitive to IFN treatment in a dose-dependent manner and, in addition to Huh-7 cells, the U2OS human osteosarcoma cell line supported efficient replication of the JFH1 replicon. Thus, this system based on JFH1 sequences offers improvements over prior genotype 1b replicons for quantitative measurement of viral RNA replication.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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