1887

Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) encodes two glycoproteins, E1 and E2, which assemble in oligomeric structures. Studies of HCV glycoprotein assembly using heterologous expression systems have shown that these glycoproteins can follow two pathways: a productive pathway leading to the formation of a non-covalent heterodimer; and a non-productive pathway leading to the formation of large disulfide-linked aggregates. The non-covalent HCV glycoprotein complex is probably the functional complex which plays an active role in the entry process in host cells. The aggregates are believed to be waste products; however, one can imagine that, in infected cells, they could provide HCV glycoproteins with additional functions. To further understand the potential role played by HCV glycoprotein aggregates in HCV infection, a MAb (H14) was produced which specifically recognizes these aggregates but not the non-covalent E1E2 heterodimer. The H14 epitope was shown to be present on both HCV glycoproteins and was sensitive to deglycosylation. An additional characterization of HCV glycoprotein aggregates, with the help of MAb H14, indicates that they share an epitope with a cellular protein called Mac-2 binding protein. The presence of such an epitope on HCV glycoprotein aggregates could potentially lead to the production of autoantibodies recognizing Mac-2 binding protein in HCV-infected patients.

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1999-12-01
2020-07-13
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