Hepatitis C virus (HCV) specific immune responses in anti-HCV positive patients without hepatitis C viraemia.
BACKGROUND/AIMS: Most patients infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) develop chronic infection and persistent viraemia. The immune mechanisms responsible for resolution of viraemia remain poorly understood. HCV specific humoral and cellular immune responses in patients with and without viraemia were investigated. METHODS: In vitro T helper (TH) lymphocyte responses to structural and non-structural HCV proteins were determined by means of proliferative response and cytokine production in 35 anti-HCV positive/HCV RNA negative patients and in 31 patients with chronic HCV infection and persistent viraemia. Humoral responses were determined by measuring HCV specific antibody quantity and specificity. RESULTS: A TH response to two or more HCV proteins was present in 18 of 35 patients with serological viral clearance compared with just one of 31 viraemic patients (p = 0.00001). HCV specific interferon-gamma production was increased only in the former group. In contrast, the antibody levels were significantly lower and directed at fewer HCV antigens in patients with undetectable HCV RNA. CONCLUSIONS: Patients without viraemia after HCV infection frequently have strong TH lymphocyte responses of the TH1 type to multiple HCV antigens many years after the onset of infection, whereas antibody responses are less marked. These results suggest that control of HCV replication may depend on effective TH lymphocyte activation. (+info)
hnRNP C and polypyrimidine tract-binding protein specifically interact with the pyrimidine-rich region within the 3'NTR of the HCV RNA genome.
Like other members of the Flaviviridae family, the 3' non-translated region (NTR) of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) is believed to function in the initiation and regulation of viral RNA replication by interacting with components of the viral replicase complex. To inves-tigate the possibility that host components may also participate in this process, we used UV cross-linking assays to determine if any cellular proteins could bind specifically to the 3'NTR RNA. We demonstrate the specific interaction of two host proteins with the extensive pyrimidine-rich region within the HCV 3'NTR. One host protein migrates as a doublet with a molecular weight of 57 kDa and is immunoreactive with antisera specific for polypyrimidine tract-binding protein (PTB), and the other protein (35 kDa) is recognized by a monoclonal antibody specific for heterogeneous nuclear ribonucleoprotein C (hnRNP C). These results suggest that recognition of the large pyrimidine-rich region by PTB and hnRNP C may play a role in the initiation and/or regulation of HCV RNA replication. (+info)
In vivo analysis of the 3' untranslated region of the hepatitis C virus after in vitro mutagenesis of an infectious cDNA clone.
Large sections of the 3' untranslated region (UTR) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) were deleted from an infectious cDNA clone, and the RNA transcripts from seven deletion mutants were tested sequentially for infectivity in a chimpanzee. Mutants lacking all or part of the 3' terminal conserved region or the poly(U-UC) region were unable to infect the chimpanzee, indicating that both regions are critical for infectivity in vivo. However, the third region, the variable region, was able to tolerate a deletion that destroyed the two putative stem-loop structures within this region. Mutant VR-24 containing a deletion of the proximal 24 nt of the variable region of the 3' UTR was viable in the chimpanzee and seemed to replicate as well as the undeleted parent virus. The chimpanzee became viremic 1 week after inoculation with mutant VR-24, and the HCV genome titer increased over time during the early acute infection. Therefore, the poly(U-UC) region and the conserved region, but not the variable region, of the 3' UTR seem to be critical for in vivo infectivity of HCV. (+info)
Restricted isotypic antibody reactivity to hepatitis C virus synthetic peptides in immunocompromised patients.
An enzyme immunoassay based on three synthetic peptides from the core, NS4, and NS5 regions of hepatitis C virus allowed the detection of antibodies in 100% of immunocompetent infected patients and in 91% of immunocompromised patients (hemodialysis and hemophiliac patients). Immune impairment seemed to restrict the spectrum of antibody isotypes reacting to the core peptide. (+info)
Experimental transmission of hepatitis C virus-associated fulminant hepatitis to a chimpanzee.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) was transmitted from a patient with fulminant hepatitis C to a chimpanzee. The patient had developed two episodes of fulminant hepatitis C, each occurring after a separate liver transplantation. Serial serum and liver samples from the patient and the chimpanzee were analyzed for HCV replication, genotype, quasispecies heterogeneity, and antibodies. In the patient, the levels of HCV replication in serum and liver correlated with the degree of hepatocellular necrosis and the clinical expression of fulminant hepatitis. The same HCV strain, genotype 1a, was recovered from both episodes of fulminant hepatitis. An unusually severe acute hepatitis was also observed in the chimpanzee. The viruses recovered from the patient and the chimpanzee were almost identical and displayed relatively little quasispecies heterogeneity. Thus, the same HCV strain induced two episodes of fulminant hepatitis in a single patient and severe hepatitis in a chimpanzee, suggesting that the pathogenicity or virulence of a specific HCV strain may be important in the pathogenesis of fulminant hepatitis C. (+info)
Expression of hepatitis C virus cDNA in human hepatoma cell line mediated by a hybrid baculovirus-HCV vector.
Although great progress has been made in the characterization of the biochemical and biological features of hepatitis C virus (HCV) gene expression, the elucidation of the HCV life cycle and the evaluation of novel antiviral strategies have been hindered by the lack of a suitable cell culture system. In this context, the development of an efficient HCV cDNA delivery method would contribute to the understanding of HCV replication. To assess the functionality of baculovirus mediated gene delivery for HCV expression, we have constructed recombinant baculoviruses encoding HCV cDNA under the control of the cytomegalovirus promoter. Transduction of the human hepatoma cell line Huh-7 with Bac-HCV vectors was efficient and HCV cDNA expression was enhanced by treatment of the infected cells with dexamethasone. HCV structural and nonstructural polypeptides were processed correctly and were found to localize in the cytoplasm in a pattern characteristic of the endoplasmic reticulum. The expression of the HCV proteins was detected for 49 days after infection. Thus, these results indicate that the recombinant Bac-HCV vectors are a useful tool for the delivery of HCV cDNA and can facilitate the analysis of structural and functional properties of the HCV proteins. In addition, the Bac-HCV vectors can provide important information on the evaluation of novel anti-HCV antiviral strategies. (+info)
Ontogeny of hepatitis C virus (HCV) hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) heterogeneity and HVR1 antibody responses over a 3 year period in a patient infected with HCV type 2b.
Hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) sequences of 96 clones at six time-points representing 27 variants in two major and one minor group were identified in a patient with chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection over 3 years. Major and selected minor variants were used to design synthetic peptides corresponding to the HVR1 C terminus. Peptide ELISA reactivity with IgG was plotted against the corresponding clone frequency, and three patterns emerged: (1) three peptides were unreactive; (2) antibodies against two peptides followed emergence of the corresponding variant, suggesting isolate-specificity; (3) antibodies against four peptides preceded the appearance of the corresponding variant, indicating cross-reactivity or previous exposure. Cross-reactivity was investigated further: sera from six time-points were tested against 11 unrelated HVR1 peptides, seven of which (63.6%) showed cross-reactivity at all time-points. Cross-reactivity of nine patient-specific peptides tested against a panel of 45 heterologous sera from chronic HCV carriers ranged between 0 and 20%. Only three of 27 variants appeared at more than one time-point and in two cases specific and/or cross-reactive HVR1 antibodies coexisted with the corresponding variant, consistent with emergence of escape mutants. In addition, analysis of HVR1 IgG reactivity within a group of closely related patient-specific peptides revealed a loss of reactivity in one peptide attributable to a single amino acid substitution. Interferon-alpha treatment considerably reduced viral RNA but, paradoxically, heterogeneity increased. (+info)
The transmembrane domain of hepatitis C virus glycoprotein E1 is a signal for static retention in the endoplasmic reticulum.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) glycoproteins E1 and E2 assemble to form a noncovalent heterodimer which, in the cell, accumulates in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER). Contrary to what is observed for proteins with a KDEL or a KKXX ER-targeting signal, the ER localization of the HCV glycoprotein complex is due to a static retention in this compartment rather than to its retrieval from the cis-Golgi region. A static retention in the ER is also observed when E2 is expressed in the absence of E1 or for a chimeric protein containing the ectodomain of CD4 in fusion with the transmembrane domain (TMD) of E2. Although they do not exclude the presence of an intracellular localization signal in E1, these data do suggest that the TMD of E2 is an ER retention signal for HCV glycoprotein complex. In this study chimeric proteins containing the ectodomain of CD4 or CD8 fused to the C-terminal hydrophobic sequence of E1 were shown to be localized in the ER, indicating that the TMD of E1 is also a signal for ER localization. In addition, these chimeric proteins were not processed by Golgi enzymes, indicating that the TMD of E1 is responsible for true retention in the ER, without recycling through the Golgi apparatus. Together, these data suggest that at least two signals (TMDs of E1 and E2) are involved in ER retention of the HCV glycoprotein complex. (+info)