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Gu BH , Gates AT , Isken O , Behrens SE , Sarisky RT
Replication studies using genotype 1a subgenomic hepatitis C virus replicons
Journal of Virology. 2003 May;77(9) :5352-5359
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Recently, cell-based replicon systems for hepatitis C virus (HCV), in which the nonstructural proteins stably replicate subgenomic viral RNA in Huh? cells, were developed. To date, one limitation of using these replicon systems to advance drug discovery is the inability of other genotypic derivatives, beyond those of two distinct strains of genotype 1b (HCV-N and Con1), to stably replicate in Huh7 cells. In this report, we evaluated a series of replicon genotype 1a-1b chimeras, as well as a complete genotype la replicon clone. A subgenomic replicon construct containing only type la sequences failed to generate stable colonies in Huh? cells even after repeated attempts. Furthermore, addition of an NS5A adaptive mutation (S22041) which enhances type 1b replicon efficiency was insufficient to confer replication to the wild-type la replicon. This subgenomic replicon was subsequently found to be inefficiently translated in Huh? cells compared to a type 1b replicon, and the attenuation of translation mapped to the N-terminal region of NS3. Therefore, to ensure efficient translation and thereby support replication of the la genome, the coding sequence for first 75 residues from type la were replaced with the type 1b (strain Con 1) NS3 coding sequence. Although nonstructural proteins were expressed at lower levels with this replicon than with type 1b and although the amount of viral RNA was also severalfold lower (150 copies of positive-strand RNA per cell), the replicon stably replicated in Huh7 cells. Notwithstanding this difference, the ratio of positive- to negative-strand RNA of 26 was similar to that found with the type 1b replicon. Similar results were found for a 1b replicon expressing the type la RNA-dependent RNA polymerase. These la hybrid replicons maintained sensitivity to alpha interferon (IFN-alpha), albeit with an eightfold-higher 50% inhibitory concentration than type 1b replicons. Evidence is provided herein to confirm that this differential response to IFN-alpha may be attributed directly to the type la polymerase.
Gu, BH,GlaxoSmithKline Pharmaceut, Dept Virol, Metab & Viral Dis Ctr Excellence Drug Discovery, 1250 S Collegeville Rd,UP1450, Collegeville Article English