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Hepatology. 2011 Aug;54(2):425-33. doi: 10.1002/hep.24399. Epub 2011 Jun 26.

In vivo adaptation of hepatitis C virus in chimpanzees for efficient virus production and evasion of apoptosis.

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  • 1Department of Virology II, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) employs various strategies to establish persistent infection that can cause chronic liver disease. Our previous study showed that both the original patient serum from which the HCV JFH-1 strain was isolated and the cell culture-generated JFH-1 virus (JFH-1cc) established infection in chimpanzees, and that infected JFH-1 strains accumulated mutations after passage through chimpanzees. The aim of this study was to compare the in vitro characteristics of JFH-1 strains emerged in each chimpanzee at early and late stages of infection, as it could provide an insight into the phenomenon of viral persistence. We generated full-genome JFH-1 constructs with the mutations detected in patient serum-infected (JFH-1/S1 and S2) and JFH-1cc-infected (JFH-1/C) chimpanzees, and assessed their effect on replication, infectious virus production, and regulation of apoptosis in cell culture. The extracellular HCV core antigen secreted from JFH-1/S1-, S2-, and C-transfected HuH-7 cells was 2.5, 8.9, and 2.1 times higher than that from JFH-1 wild-type (JFH-1/wt) transfected cells, respectively. Single cycle virus production assay with a CD81-negative cell line revealed that the strain JFH-1/S2, isolated from the patient serum-infected chimpanzee at a later time point of infection, showed lower replication and higher capacity to assemble infectious virus particles. This strain also showed productive infection in human hepatocyte-transplanted mice. Furthermore, the cells harboring this strain displayed lower susceptibility to the apoptosis induced by tumor necrosis factor α or Fas ligand compared with the cells replicating JFH-1/wt.

CONCLUSION:

The ability of lower replication, higher virus production, and less susceptibility to cytokine-induced apoptosis may be important for prolonged infection in vivo. Such control of viral functions by specific mutations may be a key strategy for establishing persistent infection.

PMID:
21538444
PMCID:
PMC3145027
DOI:
10.1002/hep.24399
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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