1887

Abstract

Identification of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) JFH1 isolate enabled the development of infectious HCV cell culture systems. However, the relatively low virus titres and instability of some chimeric JFH1 reporter viruses restricts some uses of this system. We describe a higher-titre JFH1-EGFP reporter virus where the NS5A V3 region was replaced with the EGFP gene and adapted by serial passage in Huh7.5 cells. Six adaptive mutants were identified: one each in E2, P7 and NS4B, plus three in the NS5A region. These adaptive mutants increased the reporter virus titres to 1×10 immunofluorescent focus-forming units ml, which is the highest titre of JFH1-EGFP reporter virus reported to our knowledge. This chimeric virus did not lose EGFP expression following 40 days of passage and it can be used to test the activity of HCV antivirals by measuring EGFP fluorescence in 96-well plates. Moreover, this reporter virus allows living infected Huh7.5 cells in Matrigel three-dimensional (3D) cultures to be visualized and produces infectious viral particles in these 3D cultures. The chimeric NS5A-EGFP infectious JFH1 reporter virus described should enable new studies of the HCV life cycle in 3D cell cultures and will be useful in identifying antivirals that interfere with HCV release or entry.

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2014-02-01
2021-10-20
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