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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 1998 Apr 7;245(1):198-203.

Ubiquitous presence of cellular proteins that specifically bind to the 3' terminal region of hepatitis C virus.

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Department of Cell Biology, Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Okayama University Medical School, Okayama, 700, Japan.


The 3' terminal region (3'-X tail) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) genomic RNA forms a stable stem-loop structure. The 3'-X tail consists of 98 nucleotides (nt) that are highly conserved among the HCV strains and supposed to function as a cis-acting region for replication of negative strand RNA and/or viral encapsidation. In the present study, by UV cross-linking assay we found two kinds of cellular proteins of approximately 87 and 130 kDa, which specifically bind to the full-length 3'-X tail (nt 1 to 98), but not the 3'- or 5'-truncated 3'-X tail, consisting of nt 1 to 50 or nt 51 to 98, respectively. These proteins were detected in human cell lines such as hepatic tumor cell lines and a T-lymphocyte cell line and also in a human embryonic lung fibroblast cell strain. In addition, human hepatocellular carcinoma tissues expressed these proteins regardless of infection or uninfection of HCV. Furthermore, these proteins were also detected in normal human tissues derived from the lung, heart, kidney, stomach, intestine, and colon. Thus, these cellular proteins, which are ubiquitously present in human tissues, might be involved in viral replication and/or encapsidation.

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