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Indian J Pathol Microbiol. 2019 Jan-Mar;62(1):43-48. doi: 10.4103/IJPM.IJPM_604_18.

Expression and immune recognition of polypeptides derived from Hepatitis C virus structural proteins.

Author information

Department of Biochemistry, Faculty of Science, Ain Shams University, Cairo, Egypt.



Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is characterized by a high degree of nucleotide sequence variability between genotypes. This variability extends to functional and immunological determinants. Serological tests using antigenic segments derived from the HCV polyprotein have been used for the diagnosis of HCV infection. However, available diagnostic Kits do not necessarily take type variability into consideration and are not optimized for HCV genotype 4a (HCV4a), the predominant genotype in Egypt.


The aim of this study was to express some HCV4a-derived polypeptides in order to identify those with immunodiagnostic utility.

Materials and Methods:

Six sequential/overlapping genomic segments encoding 100-266 amino acid peptides from the core (peptide 1), envelope 1 (E1; peptide 2), envelope 2 (E2; peptides 4, 5, and 6), and E1/E2 (peptide 3) regions of the HCV4apolyprotein were selected for in vitro expression as glutathione S-transferase-fusion proteins. The immunoreactivity of the expressed peptides was evaluated against sera from HCV-infected/uninfected individuals using dot blot, western blot, and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.


The expressed polypeptides were recognized by HCV-infected sera from 20 patients, while showing no immunoreactivity toward uninfected serum. Peptide 1 derived from the core protein was found to be the most immunoreactive.


Expressed polypeptides hold good potential for use in the development of improved HCV immunodiagnostics.


Diagnostic reagents; hepatitis C virus; immune recognition; polypeptide expression

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