Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New opportunity for hepatitis C research

Date:
July 6, 2010
Source:
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres
Summary:
Researchers are adapting the hepatitis C virus to mice, thus enabling immunologists and vaccine researchers to take the next steps against this illness.

This image shows infected human cells with miceCD81.
Credit: Twincore, Hannover, Germany

The hepatitis C virus is highly specialised. We humans are its natural hosts. The only other living organisms that could be infected with the hepatitis C virus in the lab are chimpanzees. Nevertheless it is -- from the viewpoint of the virus -- highly successful: around 170 million people are chronically infected with the virus. And with the chronic infection the risk of developing liver cancer also increases.

Related Articles


Researchers worldwide are working to develop vaccines and medication to combat the virus. The problem is that although they are able to research in liver cell cultures, when they want to find out how the immune system controls an infection or whether possible vaccines are effective research comes up against a brick wall: tests at such an early stage are unthinkable for humans or chimpanzees.

At TWINCORE researchers are now adapting the HCV to mice, thus enabling immunologists and vaccine researchers to take the next steps against this illness in the future. Because the immune system of mice is very similar to that of humans and it is only when vaccines are successful and safe in animal experiments that researchers can take the risk of transferring them to humans.

The fact that HCV can only infect humans and chimpanzees is partly down to the highly complicated mechanism with which it accesses the cell. The virus has to first bind four different molecules on the surface of our liver cells. This triggers a mechanism in our cells that transports the virus into the liver cells. "Mice also have these receptors on their liver cells in principle," says scientist Julia Bitzegeio of the Department of Experimental Virology at TWINCORE, "however, they do not fit those on the surface of the virus."

The two molecules that cause particular difficulty are called CD81 and occludin -- these need to be human, otherwise the virus has no chance of infecting the cell. To make the HCV "mouse-capable" the researchers resorted to a trick: they have removed the CD81 receptor from human liver cells and replaced it with mouse CD81. In an electrical field they then tore tiny holes in the cell membrane before inserting the HC virus artificially through these holes. "The virus reproduced inside the cells and we repeatedly inserted the virus into the altered liver cells," explains Julia Bitzegeio. This led to the highly transformable virus gradually changing until it was able to penetrate the cells with mouse CD81 receptor even without assistance.

"In this selection process the surface of the virus altered so much that it continued to infect human cells very quickly, but also simple mouse cells containing the four mouse variants of the HCV receptors," says Research Group Leader Professor Thomas Pietschmann. The mouse-adapted virus is able to penetrate the mouse cells; however, the human specialisation of the HC virus is so high that it is unable to reproduce in the cells. "Successful infiltration is the first step towards a new small animal model, one that is urgently required for immunological investigations and the development of vaccines against HCV."

TWINCORE is an joint venture between Helmholtz-Center for Infection Research at Braunschweig an the Hannover Medical School.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Julia Bitzegeio, Dorothea Bankwitz, Kathrin Hueging, Sibylle Haid, Christiane Brohm, Mirjam B. Zeisel, Eva Herrmann, Marcus Iken, Michael Ott, Thomas F. Baumert, Thomas Pietschmann, Michael S. Diamond. Adaptation of Hepatitis C Virus to Mouse CD81 Permits Infection of Mouse Cells in the Absence of Human Entry Factors. PLoS Pathogens, 2010; 6 (7): e1000978 DOI: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1000978

Cite This Page:

Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "New opportunity for hepatitis C research." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 July 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706103608.htm>.
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. (2010, July 6). New opportunity for hepatitis C research. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706103608.htm
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. "New opportunity for hepatitis C research." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/07/100706103608.htm (accessed October 25, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, October 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

IKEA Desk Converts From Standing to Sitting With One Button

Buzz60 (Oct. 24, 2014) IKEA is out with a new convertible desk that can convert from a sitting desk to a standing one with just the push of a button. Jen Markham explains. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

Ebola Protective Suits Being Made in China

AFP (Oct. 24, 2014) A factory in China is busy making Ebola protective suits for healthcare workers and others fighting the spread of the virus. Duration: 00:38 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

WHO: Millions of Ebola Vaccine Doses by 2015

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) The World Health Organization said on Friday that millions of doses of two experimental Ebola vaccines could be ready for use in 2015 and five more experimental vaccines would start being tested in March. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

Doctor in NYC Quarantined With Ebola

AP (Oct. 24, 2014) An emergency room doctor who recently returned to the city after treating Ebola patients in West Africa has tested positive for the virus. He's quarantined in a hospital. (Oct. 24) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins