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Biol Chem. 2006 Aug;387(8):1075-80.

Single-cell resolution imaging of membrane-anchored hepatitis C virus NS3/4A protease activity.

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Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Life Sciences Centre, University of British Columbia, 3559-2350 Health Sciences Mall, Vancouver, V6T 1Z3, Canada.


The study of host and viral membrane-associated proteases has been hampered due to a lack of in vivo assays. We report here the development of a cell-based fluorescence assay for detecting hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3/4A juxtamembrane protease activity. Intracellular membrane-anchored protein substrates were engineered comprising: (1) an endoplasmic reticulum targeting domain, the HCV NS5A N-terminal amphipathic alpha-helix; (2) a NS3/4A-specific cleavage site; and (3) a red fluorescent reporter group, DsRed. The results of our immunofluorescence and Western blotting studies demonstrate that our membrane-bound fluorescent probe was cleaved specifically and efficiently by NS3/4A expressed in human cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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