More than 170 million individuals are currently infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV) worldwide and are at continuous risk of developing chronic liver disease. Since a cell culture system enabling relatively efficient propagation of HCV has become available, an increasing number of viral and host factors involved in HCV particle formation have been identified. Association of the viral Core, which forms the capsid with lipid droplets appears to be prerequisite for early HCV morphogenesis. Maturation and release of HCV particles is tightly linked to very-low-density lipoprotein biogenesis. Although expression of Core as well as E1 and E2 envelope proteins produces virus-like particles in heterologous expression systems, there is increasing evidence that non-structural viral proteins and p7 are also required for the production of infectious particles, suggesting that HCV genome replication and virion assembly are closely linked. Advances in our understanding of the various molecular mechanisms by which infectious HCV particles are formed are summarized.
Keywords: hepatitis C virus, assembly, lipid droplet, VLDL
Citation: Suzuki T (2012) Morphogenesis of infectious hepatitis C virus particles. Front. Microbio. 3:38. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2012.00038
Received: 16 December 2011; Accepted: 23 January 2012;
Published online: 07 February 2012.
Edited by:Akio Adachi, The University of Tokushima Graduate School, Japan
Reviewed by:MinKyung Yi, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston, USA
Copyright: © 2012 Suzuki. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial License, which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited.
*Correspondence: Tetsuro Suzuki, Department of Infectious Diseases, Hamamatsu University School of Medicine, 1-20-1 Handayama, Higashi-ku, Hamamatsu 431-3192, Japan. e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org