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Hvidovre Hospital - en del af Københavns Universitetshospital

HVR1-mediated antibody evasion of highly infectious in vivo adapted HCV in humanised mice

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OBJECTIVE: HCV is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide, but the role of neutralising antibodies (nAbs) in its natural history remains poorly defined. We analysed the in vivo role of hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) for HCV virion properties, including nAb susceptibility.

DESIGN: Analysis of HCV from human liver chimeric mice infected with cell-culture-derived prototype genotype 2a recombinant J6/JFH1 or HVR1-deleted variant J6/JFH1ΔHVR1 identified adaptive mutations, which were analysed by reverse genetics in Huh7.5 and CD81-deficient S29 cells. The increased in vivo genomic stability of the adapted viruses facilitated ex vivo density analysis by ultracentrifugation and in vivo neutralisation experiments addressing the role of HVR1.

RESULTS: In vivo, J6/JFH1 and J6/JFH1ΔHVR1 depended on single substitutions within amino acids 867-876 in non-structural protein, NS2. The identified A876P-substitution resulted in a 4.7-fold increase in genomic stability. In vitro, NS2 substitutions enhanced infectivity 5-10-fold by increasing virus assembly. Mouse-derived mJ6/JFH1A876P and mJ6/JFH1ΔHVR1/A876P viruses displayed similar heterogeneous densities of 1.02-1.1 g/mL. Human liver chimeric mice loaded with heterologous patient H (genotype 1a) immunoglobulin had partial protection against mJ6/JFH1A876P and complete protection against mJ6/JFH1ΔHVR1/A876P. Interestingly, we identified a putative escape mutation, D476G, in mJ6/JFH1A876P. This mutation in hypervariable region 2 conferred 6.6-fold resistance against H06 IgG in vitro.

CONCLUSIONS: The A876P-substitution bridges in vitro and in vivo studies using J6/JFH1-based recombinants. We provide the first in vivo evidence that HVR1 protects cross-genotype conserved HCV neutralisation epitopes, which advocates the possibility of using HVR1-deleted viruses as vaccine antigens to boost broadly reactive protective nAb responses.

Sider (fra-til)1988-1997
StatusUdgivet - dec. 2016

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