Scientists identify crucial step in helping to prevent Hepatitis C virus replicating

New research from the University of Southampton has identified how changes in the cell membrane play a pivotal role in how the Hepatitis C virus replicates.

By understanding this process, the researchers hope to investigate how to prevent the changes and potentially develop therapeutic drugs to combat the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which infects an estimated 170 million people globally.

When HCV infects a cell it uses one of its proteins, NS4B, to form a lipid-rich structure called the 'membranous web'. This structure contains 'reaction centres', where the virus can replicate protected from the host cell's antivirus defences.

More information: "Interaction between the NS4B amphipathic helix, AH2, and charged lipid headgroups alters membrane morphology and AH2 oligomeric state—Implications for the Hepatitis C virus life cycle," Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA) - Biomembranes, Volume 1848, Issue 8, August 2015, Pages 1671-1677, ISSN 0005-2736,

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