Fundamentals of Cellular and Molecular Biology

Molecular Basis of Hepatitis C

Author(s): Muneeb Ur Rehman and Hafiz Zain Ul Abideen *

Pp: 201-211 (11)

DOI: 10.2174/9789815238037124010018

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a significant cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. The molecular basis of HCV infection and replication has been extensively studied, leading to the identification of vital viral proteins and their interactions with host factors. The HCV genome encodes a single polyprotein cleaved by host and viral proteases into individual proteins, including the core, envelope glycoproteins (E1 and E2), p7, NS2, NS3, NS4A, NS4B, NS5A, and NS5B. These viral proteins play critical roles in virus assembly, entry, replication, and evasion of host immune responses. The HCV envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2 are responsible for virus attachment and entry into host cells through interactions with various host receptors, including CD81, scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI), and tight junction proteins. The viral protein NS3 has multiple functions, including protease and helicase activities, which are critical for viral RNA replication. NS5A is an essential component of the viral replication complex and regulates viral RNA replication, virion assembly, and modulation of host immune responses. NS5B is the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase responsible for viral RNA synthesis. The molecular mechanisms underlying HCVinduced pathogenesis and the development of chronic infection remain poorly understood. However, recent studies have shed light on the interactions between HCV and host factors, including the innate and adaptive immune responses and the roles of viral proteins in modulating these responses. These insights have led to new antiviral therapies, including direct-acting antivirals (DAAs) that target viral proteins in RNA replication. 

Keywords: Glycoproteins, Hepatitis C virus (HCV), HCV-induced pathogenesis, Polyprotein, Virus assembly, Viral proteins, Viral RNA replication.

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