Development of persistent HCV genotype 3a infection cell culture model in huh-7 cell

Applied and Functional Genomics Lab, Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, 87-West Canal Bank Road, 53700 Lahore, Pakistan.
Virology Journal (Impact Factor: 2.18). 01/2012; 9(1):11. DOI: 10.1186/1743-422X-9-11
Source: PubMed


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the major health concerns globally, with genotype 3a as the most prevalent in Pakistan. Lack of efficient HCV genotype 3a small animal models as well as genomic replicons has hampered the complete understanding of its life cycle, pathogenesis and therapeutic options. In this study we aimed to develop a persistent HCV genotype 3a infectious cell culture model.
We inoculated Huh-7 cells with HCV genotype 3a serum. Cells and media supernatant were collected at different time periods up to 40th day post infection. Culture media supernatant was also collected to find out its ability to infect naive Huh-7 cells.
HCV replication was confirmed at both RNA and protein level through Real Time RCR and western blot using HCV core as marker. In order to validate the persistence of our model for HCV genotype 3a replication we inhibited the HCV replication through core specific siRNAs. The HCV RNA was detected intracellularly from the day one post infection up till 40th day, while HCV core protein was detected from the second day up to 40th day consistently. In culture media supernatant HCV RNA was also actively detected conferring its ability to infect the naive Huh-7 cells. Furthermore, core specific siRNA showed significant inhibition at 24th hour post transfection both at RNA and protein level with progressive increase in the expression of core gene after 3rd day. It clearly depicts that the Huh-7 successfully retained the HCV replication after degradation of siRNA.
Finally, we report that our persistent infection cell culture model consistently replicate HCV genotype 3a for more than 1 month.


Available from: Waqar Ahmad
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    ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection, has infected approximately 3% of the world population. HCV genotype 1a is distributed throughout the world, and along with genotype 1b, is relatively resistant to current standards of therapy compared to other HCV genotypes. The present study was designed to produce stable Huh-7 cell lines expressing non-structural proteins of HCV genotype la, representing an in-vitro system to facilitate the development of new antiviral drugs against chronic HCV infection. The non-structural genes of HCV genotype 1a were amplified and cloned in a mammalian expression vector pCR 3.1/FIagTag. Huh-7 cells were transfected with one of two expression plasmids, the first containing the NS2, NS3, and NS4a cassette, and second containing the NS5a and NS5b genes. Stable cell lines were produced under the selection of gentamycin (G418). mRNA and protein expression analysis was performed by RT-PCR and Western blotting. The RT- PCR and Western blot results confirmed the stable expression of each of the gene products. Stable Huh-7 cell lines with HCV la non-structural proteins may be helpful for evaluating the role of HCV proteins in molecular pathogenesis, and could facilitate the development of new therapeutic drugs.
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