To explore the roles of large (L), middle (M) and small (S) surface antigens in an in vitro model of hepatitis B virus (HBV) entry, and thereby to achieve an optimal in vitro cell system using pseudoviruses to investigate HBV entry mechanisms.


RNA encoding sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP) was extracted from human hepatocytes and cloned into the pHIV-EGFP expression vector. The resulting pHIV-NTCP-EGFP construct was delivered into Huh7 hepatoma cells with the aid of pCMVR87.4 (packaging vector) and pCMV.VSV.G (glycoprotein), subsequently, a cell line over-expressing NTCP was generated. Meanwhile, by silencing start codons at L, M or S, seven constructs were obtained, i.e. L + M -S-, L-M + S -, l -M-S+, L + M + S-, L-M + S +, L + M -S+, l -M-S-. A matrix with various amounts of the seven constructs was used to generate HBV pseudoparticles (HBVpp) using a Luciferase-based HIV (pNL4.3.luc.R-E-) pseudotype entry model system. The infectivity of the HBVpp was tested in NTCP naïve and NTCP over-expressing Huh7 hepatoma cells.


The relative amounts of L, M and S were critical in determining the efficiency of entry of HBVpp into NTCP + ve Huh7 cells.


Creation of NTCP-over expressing cells together with optimisation of conditions to maximise HBVpp entry provides an important tool to investigate the entry step in the HBV life cycle, and may allow identification of non-NTCP-dependent viral entry pathways.

  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error