Cell-cell contact-mediated hepatitis C virus (HCV) transfer, productive infection, and replication and their requirement for HCV receptors

Ziqing Liu, Johnny He

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

17 Scopus citations

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is believed to begin with interactions between cell-free HCV and cell receptors that include CD81, scavenger receptor B1 (SR-B1), claudin-1 (CLDN1), and occludin (OCLN). In this study, we have demonstrated that HCV spreading from infected hepatocytes to uninfected hepatocytes leads to the transfer of HCV and the formation of infection foci and is cell density dependent. This cell-cell contact-mediated (CCCM) HCV transfer occurs readily and requires all these known HCV receptors and an intact actin cytoskeleton. With a fluorescently labeled replication-competent HCV system, the CCCM transfer process was further dissected by live-cell imaging into four steps: donor cell-target cell contact, formation of viral puncta-target cell conjugation, transfer of viral puncta, and posttransfer. Importantly, the CCCM HCV transfer leads to productive infection of target cells. Taken together, these results show that CCCM HCV transfer constitutes an important and effective route for HCV infection and dissemination. These findings will aid in the development of new and novel strategies for preventing and treating HCV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8545-8558
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Volume87
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - 2013

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