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Front Microbiol. 2012 Feb 14;3:54. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00054. eCollection 2012.

Exploitation of lipid components by viral and host proteins for hepatitis C virus infection.

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Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Yamanashi Chuo-shi, Yamanashi, Japan.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which is a major causative agent of blood-borne hepatitis, has chronically infected about 170 million individuals worldwide and leads to chronic infection, resulting in development of steatosis, cirrhosis, and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma. Hepatocellular carcinoma associated with HCV infection is not only caused by chronic inflammation, but also by the biological activity of HCV proteins. HCV core protein is known as a main component of the viral nucleocapsid. It cooperates with host factors and possesses biological activity causing lipid alteration, oxidative stress, and progression of cell growth, while other viral proteins also interact with host proteins including molecular chaperones, membrane-anchoring proteins, and enzymes associated with lipid metabolism to maintain the efficiency of viral replication and production. HCV core protein is localized on the surface of lipid droplets in infected cells. However, the role of lipid droplets in HCV infection has not yet been elucidated. Several groups recently reported that other viral proteins also support viral infection by regulation of lipid droplets and core localization in infected cells. Furthermore, lipid components are required for modification of host factors and the intracellular membrane to maintain or up-regulate viral replication. In this review, we summarize the current status of knowledge regarding the exploitation of lipid components by viral and host proteins in HCV infection.


HCV; hepatitis; host factor; lipid droplets

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