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Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an emerging pathogen responsible for more than 20 million cases of acute hepatitis globally per annum. Healthy individuals typically have a self-limiting infection, but mortality rates in some populations such as pregnant women can reach 30 %. A detailed understanding of the virus lifecycle is lacking, mainly due to limitations in experimental systems. In this regard, the cyclophilins are an important family of proteins that have peptidyl-prolyl isomerase activity and play roles in the replication of a number of positive-sense RNA viruses, including hepatotropic viruses such as hepatitis C virus (HCV). Cyclophilins A and B (CypA/B) are the two most abundant Cyps in hepatocytes and are therefore potential targets for pan-viral therapeutics. Here, we investigated the importance of CypA and CypB for HEV genome replication using sub-genomic replicons. Using a combination of pharmacological inhibition by cyclosporine A (CsA), and silencing by small hairpin RNA we find that CypA and CypB are not essential for HEV replication. However, we find that silencing of CypB reduces replication of some HEV isolates in some cells. Furthermore, sensitivity to Cyp silencing appears to be partly conferred by the sequence within the hypervariable region of the viral polyprotein. These data suggest HEV is atypical in its requirements for cyclophilin for viral genome replication and that this phenomenon could be genotype- and sequence-specific.

Funding
This study was supported by the:
  • Medical Research Council (Award MR/S007229/1)
    • Principle Award Recipient: MorganR Herod
  • This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License. This article was made open access via a Publish and Read agreement between the Microbiology Society and the corresponding author’s institution.
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2023-11-09
2024-07-24
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