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Abstract

To establish infectious genotype 4a (GT4a) cell culture-derived hepatitis C virus (HCVcc), we constructed full-length ED43 and 12 mutants possessing single or double mutations that increase ED43 replicon replication, and performed cell culture after RNA transfection. Sequential long-term culture of full-length ED43 RNA-transfected cells showed increased viral production in two ED43 mutants named ED43 QK/SI and TR/SI among the tested clones. These ED43 mutants possessed a common mutation, R1405G, in the NS3 helicase region and another mutation, D2413G or V2414A, in the NS5a–NS5b cleavage site. Furthermore, serial reinfection of naïve Huh7.5.1 cells accelerated peak HCV production at an earlier time point after every infection. After the fourth infection, we found a common mutation, R1405G, and six additional mutations in both ED43 QK/SI and TR/SI mutants. All seven mutations supported continuous viral production for more than 40 days in both ED43 QS-7M (QK/SI with seven mutations) and ED43 TS-7M (TR/SI with seven mutations). In addition, ED43 TS-7M did not require additional mutations for continuous virus culture up to 124 days. Both ED43 QS-7M and TS-7M were sensitive to the neutralizing E2 antibodies HCV1 and AR3A and the direct-acting antivirals, simeprevir, ledipasvir and sofosbuvir. In conclusion, we established an infectious ED43 strain containing adaptive mutations, which is important for the analysis of HCV genotype-specific pathogenesis, development of pan-genotypic agents and analysis of drug resistance.

Keyword(s): HCV , virus culture and genotype 4
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2019-12-20
2020-01-24
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