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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2014 May;58(5):2638-46. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01780-13. Epub 2014 Feb 18.

Robust and persistent replication of the genotype 6a hepatitis C virus replicon in cell culture.

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  • 1Biology Department, Gilead Sciences, Foster City, California, USA.

Abstract

Genotype 6 (GT6) hepatitis C virus (HCV) is prevalent in Southeast Asia and southern China, where it can constitute up to 50% of HCV infections. Despite this, no direct-acting antivirals are approved to treat GT6 HCV infection, and no cell culture systems have been described. In this study, we aimed to develop a GT6 HCV subgenomic replicon to facilitate the identification and development of new HCV therapies with pan-genotype activity. A subgenomic replicon cDNA encoding a GT6a consensus sequence plus an NS5A amino acid substitution (S232I) was synthesized. Electroporation of RNA encoding the GT6a replicon into Huh-7-derived cells consistently yielded 20 to 100 stable replicon colonies. Genotypic analyses of individual replicon colonies revealed new adaptive mutations across multiple viral nonstructural proteins. The E30V and K272R mutations in NS3 and the K34R mutation in NS4A were observed most frequently and were confirmed to enhance GT6a replicon replication in the presence of the NS5A amino acid substitution S232I. These new adaptive mutations allowed establishment of robust luciferase-encoding GT6a replicons for reproducible quantification of HCV replication, and the luciferase-encoding replicons enabled efficient determinations of antiviral activity for HCV inhibitors in a 384-well assay format. While nucleoside/nucleotide NS5B inhibitors and cyclophilin A inhibitors had similar antiviral activities against both GT6a and GT1b replicons, some nonnucleoside NS5B inhibitors, NS3 protease inhibitors, and NS5A inhibitors had less antiviral activity against GT6a replicons. In conjunction with other genotype replicons, this robust GT6a replicon system will aid in the development of pan-genotypic HCV regimens.

PMID:
24550344
PMCID:
PMC3993266
DOI:
10.1128/AAC.01780-13
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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