Publications & Reports

Recent advances in our understanding of receptor binding, viral fusion and cell entry of hepatitis C virus: new targets for the design of antiviral agents.

Poumbourios P, Drummer HE
Viral Fusion Laboratory, Macfarlane Burnet Institute for Medical Research and Public Health Limited, Melbourne, Australia.


Improvements to antiviral therapies for the treatment of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections will require the use of multiple drugs that target viral proteins essential for replication. The discovery of anti-HCV compounds has been severely hampered by the lack of cell culture replication systems. Since the late 1990s, the advent of sub-genomic replicons that model the intracellular events leading to HCV genome replication have enabled the discovery of HCV protease and polymerase inhibitors, but did not allow the study of HCV entry or entry inhibitors. More recently, retroviral pseudotyping of the viral glycoproteins and the development of a cell culture-based system that recapitulates the entire HCV replication cycle were achieved. These new experimental systems have enabled a rapid advance in our knowledge of how HCV glycoproteins, E1 and E2, mediate receptor binding and viral entry. These systems have facilitated the discovery of a range of viral receptors. Evidence is emerging that CD81, scavenger receptor class B type I, claudin-1 and the low-density lipoprotein receptor are involved in viral entry. In addition, DC-SIGN and L-SIGN may function to internalize virus into dendritic or endothelial cells, facilitating the transport of virions to sites of infection such as the liver. This review focuses on the interaction between the HCV glycoproteins and cellular receptors, and our current understanding of the viral entry pathway. In addition, key questions on the role that these receptors play in viral entry are raised and potential avenues for the discovery of new antiviral agents are highlighted.


  • Journal: Antiviral Chemistry & Chemotherapy
  • Published: 01/01/2007
  • Volume: 18
  • Issue: 4
  • Pagination: 169-189


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