Hepatitis C virus infection causes chronic liver diseases and is a global public health problem.
Detailed analyses of Hepatitis C virus have been hampered by the lack of viral culture systems.
Subgenomic replicons of the JFH1 genotype 2a strain cloned from an individual with fulminant hepatitis replicate efficiently in cell culture.
Dr Takaji Wakita and colleagues show that the JFH1 genome replicates efficiently.
|The JFH1 genome replicates efficiently, and infectivity is neutralized by CD81-specific antibodies|
The investigators also found that the JFH1 genome supports secretion of viral particles after transfection into a human hepatoma cell line, Huh7.
The investigative team report that particles have a density of about 1.15 to 1.17 g/ml and a spherical morphology with an average diameter of about 55 nm.
The team noted that the secreted virus is infectious for Huh7 cells.
Infectivity can be neutralized by CD81-specific antibodies and by immunoglobulins from chronically infected individuals.
The investigators add that the cell culture−generated Hepatitis C virus is infectious for chimpanzee.
Dr Wakita's team concludes, “This system provides a powerful tool for studying the viral life cycle and developing antiviral strategies.”