Primary human hepatocytes are susceptible to infection by hepatitis delta virus assembled with envelope proteins of woodchuck hepatitis virus.

Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.
Journal of Virology (Impact Factor: 4.65). 09/2008; 82(15):7276-83. DOI: 10.1128/JVI.00576-08
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) share the HBV envelope proteins. When woodchucks chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) are superinfected with HDV, they produce HDV with a WHV envelope, wHDV. Several lines of evidence are provided that wHDV infects not only cultured primary woodchuck hepatocytes (PWH) but also primary human hepatocytes (PHH). Surprisingly, HBV-enveloped HDV (hHDV) and wHDV infected PHH with comparable efficiencies; however, hHDV did not infect PWH. The basis for these host range specificities was investigated using as inhibitors peptides bearing species-specific pre-S (where S is the small envelope protein) sequences. It was found that pre-S1 contributed to the ability of wHDV to infect both PHH and PWH. In addition, the inability of hHDV to infect PWH was not overcome using a chimeric form of hHDV containing WHV S protein, again supporting the essential role of pre-S1 in infection of target cells. One interpretation of these data is that host range specificity of HDV is determined entirely by pre-S1 and that the WHV and HBV pre-S1 proteins recognize different receptors on PHH.

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