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Cold Spring Harb Perspect Med. 2019 Aug 19. pii: a036830. doi: 10.1101/cshperspect.a036830. [Epub ahead of print]

Hepatitis C Virus Entry: Protein Interactions and Fusion Determinants Governing Productive Hepatocyte Invasion.

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TWINCORE, Center for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Institute for Experimental Virology, 30625 Hannover, Germany.
Department of Clinical Microbiology, Virology & Wallenberg Centre for Molecular Medicine (WCMM), Umeå University, 901 85 Umeå, Sweden.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) entry is among the best-studied uptake processes for human pathogenic viruses. Uptake follows a spatially and temporally tightly controlled program. Numerous host factors including proteins, lipids, and glycans promote productive uptake of HCV particles into human liver cells. The virus initially attaches to surface proteoglycans, lipid receptors such as the scavenger receptor BI (SR-BI), and to the tetraspanin CD81. After lateral translocation of virions to tight junctions, claudin-1 (CLDN1) and occludin (OCLN) are essential for entry. Clathrin-mediated endocytosis engulfs HCV particles, which fuse with endosomal membranes after pH drop. Uncoating of the viral RNA genome in the cytoplasm completes the entry process. Here we systematically review and classify HCV entry factors by their mechanistic role, relevance, and level of evidence. Finally, we report on more recent knowledge on determinants of membrane fusion and close with an outlook on future implications of HCV entry research.

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