Hepatitis C virus induces CD81 and claudin-1 endocytosis.

Michelle Farquhar, Ke Hu, Helen Harris, C Davis, Claire Brimacombe, Sarah Fletcher, TF Baumert, Joshua Rappoport, Peter Balfe, Jane McKeating

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90 Citations (Scopus)


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) leads to progressive liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Current treatments are only partially effective and new therapies targeting viral and host pathways are required. Virus entry into a host cell provides a conserved target for therapeutic intervention. Tetraspanin CD81, scavenger receptor class B member I and tight junction proteins claudin-1 and occludin have been identified as essential entry receptors. Limited information is available on the role of receptor trafficking in HCV entry. In this study, we demonstrate that anti-CD81 antibodies inhibit HCV infection at late times post virus internalization, suggesting a role for intracellular CD81 in HCV infection. Several tetraspanins have been reported to internalize via motifs in their C-terminal cytoplasmic domain, however, CD81 lacks such motifs leading several laboratories to suggest a limited role for CD81 endocytosis in HCV entry. We demonstrate CD81 internalization via a clathrin and dynamin dependent process, independent of its cytoplasmic domain, suggesting a role for associated partner proteins in regulating CD81 trafficking. Live cell imaging demonstrates CD81 and claudin-1 co-endocytosis and fusion with Rab5 expressing endosomes, supporting a role for this receptor complex in HCV internalization. Receptor specific antibodies and HCV particles increase CD81 and claudin-1 endocytosis, supporting a model where HCV stimulates receptor trafficking to promote particle internalization.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of virology
Publication statusPublished - 8 Feb 2012


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