[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections are the major cause of chronic liver disease, cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma worldwide. Both spontaneous and treatment-induced clearance of HCV depend on genetic variation within the interferon-lambda locus, but until now no clear causal relationship has been established. Here we demonstrate that an amino-acid substitution in the IFNλ4 protein changing a proline at position 70 to a serine (P70S) substantially alters its antiviral activity. Patients harbouring the impaired IFNλ4-S70 variant display lower interferon-stimulated gene (ISG) expression levels, better treatment response rates and better spontaneous clearance rates, compared with patients coding for the fully active IFNλ4-P70 variant. Altogether, these data provide evidence supporting a role for the active IFNλ4 protein as the driver of high hepatic ISG expression as well as the cause of poor HCV clearance.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Membrane proteins are notoriously difficult to express in a soluble form. Here, we use wheat germ cell-free expression in the presence of various detergents to produce the non-structural proteins 2, 4B and 5A membrane proteins of the hepatitis C virus (HCV). We show that lauryl maltose neopentyl glycol (MNG-3) and dodecyl octaethylene glycol ether (C12E8) detergents can yield essentially soluble membrane proteins at detergent concentrations that do not inhibit the cell-free reaction. This finding can be explained by the low critical micelle concentration (CMC) of these detergents, which keeps the monomer concentrations low while at the same time providing the necessary excess of detergent concentration above CMC required for full target protein solubilization. We estimate that a tenfold excess of detergent micelles with respect to the protein concentration is sufficient for solubilization, a number that we propose as a guideline for detergent screening assays.
Protein Expression and Purification 10/2014; · 1.43 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Nonstructural protein 4B (NS4B) is a key organizer of hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication complex formation. In concert with other nonstructural proteins, it induces a specific membrane rearrangement, designated as membranous web, which serves as a scaffold for the HCV replicase. The N-terminal part of NS4B comprises a predicted and a structurally resolved amphipathic α-helix, designated as AH1 and AH2, respectively. Here, we report a detailed structure-function analysis of NS4B AH1. Circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance structural analyses revealed that AH1 folds into an amphipathic α-helix extending from NS4B amino acid 4 to 32, with positively charged residues flanking the helix. These residues are conserved among hepaciviruses. Mutagenesis and selection of pseudorevertants revealed an important role of these residues in RNA replication by affecting the biogenesis of double-membrane vesicles making up the membranous web. Moreover, alanine substitution of conserved acidic residues on the hydrophilic side of the helix reduced infectivity without significantly affecting RNA replication, indicating that AH1 is also involved in virus production. Selective membrane permeabilization and immunofluorescence microscopy analyses of a functional replicon harboring an epitope tag between NS4B AH1 and AH2 revealed a dual membrane topology of the N-terminal part of NS4B during HCV RNA replication. Luminal translocation was unaffected by the mutations introduced into AH1, but was abrogated by mutations introduced into AH2. In conclusion, our study reports the three-dimensional structure of AH1 from HCV NS4B, and highlights the importance of positively charged amino acid residues flanking this amphipathic α-helix in membranous web formation and RNA replication. In addition, we demonstrate that AH1 possesses a dual role in RNA replication and virus production, potentially governed by different topologies of the N-terminal part of NS4B.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The natural course of chronic hepatitis C varies widely. To improve the profiling of patients at risk of developing advanced liver disease, we assessed the relative contribution of factors for liver fibrosis progression in hepatitis C.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The CCR5 receptor, expressed on Th1 cells, may influence clinical outcomes of HCV infection. We explored a possible link between a CCR5 32-base deletion (CCR5delta32), resulting in the expression of a non-functioning receptor, and clinical outcomes of HCV infection.
PLoS ONE 09/2014; 9(9):e106424. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Progress in the understanding of the hepatitis C virus life cycle allowed the development of new, very promising antiviral therapies. Although these new drugs have a favourable profile in terms of efficacy, tolerance and interaction potential, their prescription in the setting of comedication and impaired renal or hepatic function remains a challenge. Here, we provide a summary of pharmacological considerations, focusing on sofosbuvir, simeprevir and daclatasvir. A better understanding of their metabolic pathways and transporters may help the prescriber to identify and manage drug interactions especially in patients under immunosuppressive or anti-HIV therapy. Recommendations for the prescription of these drugs in specific situations are also discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The phenotypic effect of some single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) depends on their parental origin. We present a novel approach to detect parent-of-origin effects (POEs) in genome-wide genotype data of unrelated individuals. The method exploits increased phenotypic variance in the heterozygous genotype group relative to the homozygous groups. We applied the method to >56,000 unrelated individuals to search for POEs influencing body mass index (BMI). Six lead SNPs were carried forward for replication in five family-based studies (of ∼4,000 trios). Two SNPs replicated: the paternal rs2471083-C allele (located near the imprinted KCNK9 gene) and the paternal rs3091869-T allele (located near the SLC2A10 gene) increased BMI equally (beta = 0.11 (SD), P<0.0027) compared to the respective maternal alleles. Real-time PCR experiments of lymphoblastoid cell lines from the CEPH families showed that expression of both genes was dependent on parental origin of the SNPs alleles (P<0.01). Our scheme opens new opportunities to exploit GWAS data of unrelated individuals to identify POEs and demonstrates that they play an important role in adult obesity.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Recent clinical research suggests a role for vitamin D in the response to IFN-α-based therapy of chronic hepatitis C. Therefore, we aimed to explore the underlying mechanisms in vitro. Huh-7.5 cells harboring subgenomic hepatitis C virus (HCV) replicons or infected with cell culture-derived HCV were exposed to bioactive 1,25-dihydroxyvitamin D3 (calcitriol) with or without IFN-α. In these experiments, calcitriol alone had no effect on the HCV life cycle. However, calcitriol enhanced the inhibitory effect of IFN-α on HCV replication. This effect was based on a calcitriol-mediated increase of IFN-α-induced gene expression. Further mechanistic studies revealed a constitutive inhibitory interaction between the inactive vitamin D receptor (VDR) and Stat1, which was released upon stimulation with calcitriol and IFN-α. As a consequence, IFN-α-induced binding of phosphorylated Stat1 to its DNA target sequences was enhanced by calcitriol. Importantly, and in line with these observations, silencing of the VDR resulted in an enhanced hepatocellular response to IFN-α. Our findings identify the VDR as a novel suppressor of IFN-α-induced signaling through the Jak-STAT pathway.
The Journal of Immunology 05/2014; · 5.36 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: GB virus B (GBV-B), which is hepatotropic in experimentally infected small New World primates, is a member of the Hepacivirus genus but phylogenetically relatively distant to hepatitis C virus (HCV). To gain insight into the role and specificity of hepaciviral nonstructural protein 2 (NS2), which is required for HCV polyprotein processing and particle morphogenesis, we investigated whether NS2 structural and functional features are conserved between HCV and GBV-B. We found that GBV-B NS2, like HCV NS2, has a cysteine protease activity responsible for cleavage at the NS2/NS3 junction and we experimentally confirmed the location of this junction within the viral polyprotein. A model for GBV-B NS2 membrane topology was experimentally established by determining the membrane association properties of NS2 segments fused to GFP and their NMR structure using synthetic peptides, as well as by applying an N-glycosylation scanning approach. Similar glycosylation studies confirmed HCV NS2 organization. Together, our data show that despite limited amino acid sequence similarity, GBV-B and HCV NS2 share a common membrane topology with 3 N-terminal transmembrane segments, that is predicted to also apply to other recently discovered hepaciviruses. Based on these data and using trans-complementation systems, we found that intra-genotypic hybrid NS2 proteins with heterologous N-terminal membrane segments were able to trans-complement efficiently an assembly-deficient HCV mutant with a point mutation in the NS2 C-terminal domain, while GBV-B/HCV or inter-genotypic NS2 chimeras were not. These studies indicate that virus- and genotype-specific intramolecular interactions between N- and C-terminal domains of NS2 are critically involved in HCV morphogenesis.
Nonstructural protein 2 (NS2) of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a multifunctional protein critically involved in polyprotein processing and virion morphogenesis. To gain insight into NS2 mechanisms of action, we investigated whether NS2 structural and functional features are conserved between HCV and GB virus B (GBV-B), a phylogenetically relatively distant primate hepacivirus. We showed that GBV-B NS2, like HCV NS2, carries a cysteine protease activity. We experimentally established a model for GBV-B NS2 membrane topology and demonstrated that despite limited sequence similarity, GBV-B and HCV NS2 share a common organization with three N-terminal transmembrane segments. We found that the role of HCV NS2 in particle assembly is genotype-specific and relies on critical interactions between its N- and C-terminal domains. This first comparative analysis of NS2 from two hepaciviruses and our structural predictions of NS2 from other newly identified mammal hepaciviruses highlight conserved key features of the hepaciviral life cycle.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Amantadine is an antiviral and antiparkinsonian drug that has been evaluated in combination therapies against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. Controversial results have been reported concerning its efficacy, and its mechanism of action remains unclear. Data obtained in vitro suggested a role of amantadine in inhibiting HCV p7-mediated cation conductance. In keeping with the fact that mitochondria are responsible to ionic fluxes and that HCV infection impairs mitochondrial function, we investigated a potential role of amantadine in modulating mitochondrial function. Using a well-characterized inducible cell line expressing the full-length HCV polyprotein, we found that amantadine not only prevented but also rescued HCV protein-mediated mitochondrial dysfunction. Specifically, amantadine corrected i) overload of mitochondrial Ca(2+); ii) inhibition of respiratory chain activity and oxidative phosphorylation; iii) reduction of membrane potential; and iv) overproduction of reactive oxygen species. The effects of amantadine were observed within 15min following drug administration and confirmed in Huh-7.5 cells transfected with an infectious HCV genome. These effects were also observed in cells expressing subgenomic HCV constructs, indicating that they are not mediated or only in part mediated by p7. Single organelle analyses carried out on isolated mouse liver mitochondria demonstrated that amantadine induces hyperpolarization of the membrane potential. Moreover, amantadine treatment increased the calcium threshold required to trigger mitochondrial permeability transition opening. In conclusion, these results support a role of amantadine in preserving cellular bioenergetics and redox homeostasis in HCV-infected cells and unveil an effect of the drug which might be exploited for a broader therapeutic utilization.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Background & AimsAge is frequently discussed as negative host factor to achieve a sustained virological response (SVR) to antiviral therapy of chronic hepatitis C. However, elderly patients often show advanced fibrosis/cirrhosis as known negative predictive factor. The aim of this study was to assess age as an independent predictive factor during antiviral therapy. Methods
Overall, 516 hepatitis C patients were treated with pegylated interferon-α and ribavirin, thereof 66 patients ≥60 years. We analysed the impact of host factors (age, gender, fibrosis, haemoglobin, previous hepatitis C treatment) and viral factors (genotype, viral load) on SVR per therapy course by performing a generalized estimating equations (GEE) regression modelling, a matched pair analysis and a classification tree analysis. ResultsOverall, SVR per therapy course was 42.9 and 26.1%, respectively, in young and elderly patients with hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes 1/4/6. The corresponding figures for HCV genotypes 2/3 were 74.4 and 84%. In the GEE model, age had no significant influence on achieving SVR. In matched pair analysis, SVR was not different in young and elderly patients (54.2 and 55.9% respectively; P = 0.795 in binominal test). In classification tree analysis, age was not a relevant splitting variable. Conclusions
Age is not a significant predictive factor for achieving SVR, when relevant confounders are taken into account. As life expectancy in Western Europe at age 60 is more than 20 years, it is reasonable to treat chronic hepatitis C in selected elderly patients with relevant fibrosis or cirrhosis but without major concomitant diseases, as SVR improves survival and reduces carcinogenesis.
Liver international: official journal of the International Association for the Study of the Liver 04/2014; 34(4). · 4.41 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) nonstructural protein 2 (NS2) is required for HCV polyprotein processing and particle assembly. It comprises an N-terminal membrane domain and a C-terminal, cytosolically oriented protease domain. Here, we demonstrate that the NS2 protease domain itself associates with cellular membranes. A single charged residue in the second α-helix of the NS2 protease domain is required for proper membrane association, NS2 protein stability and efficient HCV polyprotein processing.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Alterations in glucose metabolism and epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT) constitute two important characteristics of carcinoma progression toward invasive cancer. Despite an extensive characterization of each of them separately, the links between EMT and glucose metabolism of tumor cells remain elusive. Here we show that the neuronal glucose transporter GLUT3 contributes to glucose uptake and proliferation of lung tumor cells that have undergone an EMT.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an RNA virus transmitted via the fecal-oral route or through uncooked animal meat products. Of the 4 known genotypes, genotype 3 is responsible for autochthonous infections in industrialized countries, with a seroprevalence in Switzerland estimated as high as 22%. The majority of infections is asymptomatic but a minority of patients, notably men over 50 or with underlying liver disease, can present with severe acute hepatitis. Chronic hepatitis E with HEV of genotype 3 has been observed in immunosuppressed patients, mostly transplant recipients. Serology is not sufficiently sensitive, especially in immunosuppressed patients, making PCR identification the preferred test for diagnosing active infection. Ribavirin or interferon-alpha can be used to treat chronic hepatitis E if reduction of immunosuppressive treatment does not result in viral elimination.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3-4A protease is not only an essential component of the viral replication complex and a prime target for antiviral intervention but also a key player in the persistence and pathogenesis of HCV. It cleaves and thereby inactivates two crucial adaptor proteins in viral RNA sensing and innate immunity, MAVS and TRIF, a phosphatase involved in growth factor signaling, TC-PTP, and the E3 ubiquitin ligase component DDB1. Here, we explored quantitative proteomics to identify novel cellular substrates of the NS3-4A protease. Cell lines inducibly expressing the NS3-4A protease were analyzed by stable isotopic labeling using amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) coupled with protein separation and mass spectrometry. This approach identified the membrane-associated peroxidase GPx8 as a bona fide cellular substrate of the HCV NS3-4A protease. Cleavage by NS3-4A occurs at Cys 11, removing the cytosolic tip of GPx8, and was observed in different experimental systems as well as in liver biopsies from patients with chronic hepatitis C. Overexpression and RNA silencing studies revealed that GPx8 is involved in viral particle production but not in HCV entry or RNA replication. In conclusion, we provide proof-of-concept for the use of quantitative proteomics to identify cellular substrates of a viral protease and describe GPx8 as a novel proviral host factor targeted by the HCV NS3-4A protease. (Hepatology 2013;).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: New directly acting antivirals (DAAs) that inhibit hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication are increasingly used for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C. A marked pharmacokinetic variability and a high potential for drug-drug interactions between DAAs and numerous drug classes have been identified. In addition, ribavirin (RBV), commonly associated with hemolytic anemia, often requires dose adjustment, advocating for therapeutic drug monitoring (TDM) in patients under combined antiviral therapy. However, an assay for the simultaneous analysis of RBV and DAAs constitutes an analytical challenge because of the large differences in polarity among these drugs, ranging from hydrophilic (RBV) to highly lipophilic (telaprevir [TVR]). Moreover, TVR is characterized by erratic behavior on standard octadecyl-based reversed-phase column chromatography and must be separated from VRT-127394, its inactive C-21 epimer metabolite. We have developed a convenient assay employing simple plasma protein precipitation, followed by high-performance liquid chromatography coupled to tandem mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS/MS) for the simultaneous determination of levels of RBV, boceprevir, and TVR, as well as its metabolite VRT-127394, in plasma. This new, simple, rapid, and robust HPLC-MS/MS assay offers an efficient method of real-time TDM aimed at maximizing efficacy while minimizing the toxicity of antiviral therapy.
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy 07/2013; 57(7). · 4.45 Impact Factor