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J Virol. 2012 Apr;86(8):4139-50. doi: 10.1128/JVI.06327-11. Epub 2012 Feb 1.

Annexin A2 is involved in the formation of hepatitis C virus replication complex on the lipid raft.

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Institute of Molecular Biology, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA replicates in hepatic cells by forming a replication complex on the lipid raft (detergent-resistant membrane [DRM]). Replication complex formation requires various viral nonstructural (NS) proteins as well as host cellular proteins. In our previous study (C. K. Lai, K. S. Jeng, K. Machida, and M. M. Lai, J. Virol. 82:8838-8848, 2008), we found that a cellular protein, annexin A2 (Anxa2), interacts with NS3/NS4A. Since NS3/NS4A is a membranous protein and Anxa2 is known as a lipid raft-associated scaffold protein, we postulate that Anxa2 helps in the formation of the HCV replication complex on the lipid raft. Further studies showed that Anxa2 was localized at the HCV-induced membranous web and interacted with NS4B, NS5A, and NS5B and colocalized with them in the perinuclear region. The silencing of Anxa2 decreased the formation of membranous web-like structures and viral RNA replication. Subcellular fractionation and bimolecular fluorescence complementation analysis revealed that Anxa2 was partially associated with HCV at the lipid raft enriched with phosphatidylinositol-4-phosphate (PI4P) and caveolin-2. Further, the overexpression of Anxa2 in HCV-nonsusceptible HEK293 cells caused the enrichment of HCV NS proteins in the DRM fraction and increased the colony-forming ability of the HCV replicon. Since Anxa2 is known to induce the formation of the lipid raft microdomain, we propose that Anxa2 recruits HCV NS proteins and enriches them on the lipid raft to form the HCV replication complex.

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