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J Virol. 2002 Jul;76(14):6865-72.

Characterization of vesicular stomatitis virus recombinants that express and incorporate high levels of hepatitis C virus glycoproteins.

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Department of Pathology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06510, USA.


We generated recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (VSV) expressing genes encoding hybrid proteins consisting of the extracellular domains of hepatitis C virus (HCV) glycoproteins fused at different positions to the transmembrane and cytoplasmic domains of the VSV G glycoprotein (E1G and E2G). We show that these chimeric proteins are transported to the cell surface and incorporated into VSV virions efficiently. We also generated VSV recombinants in which the gene encoding the VSV G protein was deleted and replaced by one or both of the E1G and E2G genes, together with a green fluorescent protein gene. These DeltaG viruses incorporated E1G and E2G proteins at levels approximately equivalent to the normal level of VSV G itself, or about 1,200 molecules of each protein per virion. Given the potency of VSV recombinants as vaccines in other studies, this high-level expression and incorporation of HCV proteins into virions could be very important for development of an HCV vaccine. Despite the presence of E1G and E2G proteins at high levels in the virions, these virions did not infect cell lines that have been reported to support at least a low level of HCV infection and replication.

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