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J Viral Hepat. 1995;2(5):227-34.

Identification of hepatitis C virus by immunoelectron microscopy.

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Center for Liver Diseases, University of Miami School of Medicine, Veterans Administration Medical Center, FL 33125 USA.


Sequencing of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has provided a better understanding of the natural history, immunology, and epidemiology of this virus. However, the morphology of HCV has not been definitively characterized. In this study, through a sequence of concentration processes, virus-like particles were isolated from human serum and liver tissue, visualized by transmission electron microscopy and identified as hepatitis C virion by immunoelectron microscopy. Spherical flavi-like virus particles, approximately 70 nm in diameter, were observed in the fraction with 1.04-1.12 g ml-1 sucrose density and bound to immunogold particles with monoclonal antibodies (mAb) against hepatitis C. The nucleocapsid of the particles, which were 50 nm in diameter, appeared to be icosahedral in structure and surrounded by an envelope covered with surface projections. A 'tadpole' form of particles was also observed. The findings indicate that the low buoyant density in sucrose and the morphological features of the hepatitis C virion are consistent with the characteristics of flaviviruses and pestiviruses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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