Scientists said their findings could provide promising new targets for drugs to block HCV infection.
The research showed how HCV uses a ‘back door' molecular method to trick the host cell into synthesizing viral proteins.
The researchers found that the virus used internal ribosome entry sites (IRESs) to insinuate messenger RNA into the ribosome.
|HCV uses internal ribosome entry sites to insinuate messenger RNA into the ribosome.
Their theory is that cells are vulnerable because the entry sites are also used by host cells for synthesis of proteins in emergencies - such as during stress or viral infection.
The research was done using the technique of cryo-electron microscopy to study the large molecules involved in the process.
Researcher Jennifer Doudna, of Yale University, USA, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, said, "What's also interesting about these internal ribosome entry sites is that some host cell proteins also seem to use this mechanism for making certain types of protein.
"And these host proteins seem to be involved in the central control of transcription or other very fundamental cell functions.
"So, the theory is that cells also use IRESs as a way of expressing these important proteins under times of duress or viral infection, or when other protein synthesis is being shut off."
She added, "This is the first time any kind of initiation complex with the eukaryotic ribosome has been visualized."
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