Single Strain Isolation Method for Cell Culture-Adapted Hepatitis C Virus by End-Point Dilution and Infection

Inserm, U1052, UMR 5286, France
PLoS ONE (Impact Factor: 3.23). 05/2014; 9(5):e98168. DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0098168
Source: PubMed


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) culture system has enabled us to clarify the HCV life cycle and essential host factors for propagation. However, the virus production level of wild-type JFH-1 (JFH-1/wt) is limited, and this leads to difficulties in performing experiments that require higher viral concentrations. As the cell culture-adapted JFH-1 has been reported to have robust virus production, some mutations in the viral genome may play a role in the efficiency of virus production. In this study, we obtained cell culture-adapted virus by passage of full-length JFH-1 RNA-transfected Huh-7.5.1 cells. The obtained virus produced 3 log-fold more progeny viruses as compared with JFH-1/wt. Several mutations were identified as being responsible for robust virus production, but, on reverse-genetics analysis, the production levels of JFH-1 with these mutations did not reach the level of cell culture-adapted virus. By using the single strain isolation method by end-point dilution and infection, we isolated two strains with additional mutations, and found that these strains have the ability to produce more progeny viruses. On reverse-genetics analysis, the strains with these additional mutations were able to produce robust progeny viruses at comparable levels as cell culture-adapted JFH-1 virus. The strategy used in this study will be useful for identifying strains with unique characteristics, such as robust virus production, from a diverse population, and for determining the responsible mutations for these characteristics.

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