1887

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a causative agent of acute hepatitis and a major public health problem in India. There are four mammalian HEV genotypes worldwide. In India, genotype 1 (HEV-1) is restricted to humans whereas genotype 4 (HEV-4) circulates in pigs. Studies from our laboratory have shown that HEV-4 (swine) virus can establish experimental infection in rhesus monkeys; however, HEV-1 (human) virus cannot infect pigs. Viral and/or cellular factors responsible for this host specificity are not yet known. We developed 12 different genotype 1–4 chimeric full genome clones with pSK-HEV2 as the backbone and by replacing structural (ORF2 and ORF3), non-structural (ORF1) and non-coding regions (NCR) with corresponding segments from the HEV-4 clone. S10-3 (human hepatoma) and PK-15 (pig kidney) cells were transfected with transcripts generated from the above clones to test their replication competence. Transfected cells were monitored for successful virus replication by detecting replicative intermediate RNA and capsid protein (immunofluorescence assay). All the chimeric constructs were able to replicate in S10-3 cells. However, only two chimeric clones, HEV-1 (HEV-4 5′NCR-ORF1) and HEV-1 (HEV-4 ORF1), containing 5′NCR-ORF1 and ORF1 regions from the HEV-4 clone, respectively, were able to replicate in PK-15 cells. We demonstrate for the first time the crucial role of ORF1 polyprotein in crossing the species barrier at the cellular level. These results indicate the importance of interactions between ORF1 protein domains and host cell specific factors during HEV replication and the critical role of cellular factors as post-entry barrier/s in virus establishment.

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2016-08-01
2020-09-28
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