An interferon lambda 4-associated variant in the hepatitis C virus RNA polymerase affects viral replication in infected cells

Connor G.G. Bamford, John McLauchlan

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Abstract

Host IFNL4 haplotype status contributes to the development of chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection in individuals who are acutely infected with the virus. In silico studies revealed that specific amino acid variants at multiple sites on the HCV polyprotein correlate with functional single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the IFNL4 locus. Thus, SNPs at the IFNL4 locus may select variants that influence virus replication and thereby the outcome of infection. Here, we examine the most significantly IFNL4-associated amino acid variants that lie in the ‘lambda (L) 2 loop’ of the HCV NS5B RNA polymerase. L2 loop variants were introduced into both sub-genomic replicon and full-length infectious clones of HCV and viral replication was examined in the presence and absence of exogenous IFNλ4. Our data demonstrate that while mutation of the NS5B L2 loop affects replication, individual IFNL4-associated variants have modest but consistent effects on replication in both the presence and absence of IFNλ4. Given the strong genetic association between these variants and IFNL4, these data suggest a nuanced effect of each individual position on viral replication, the combined effect of which might mediate resistance to the effects of IFNλ4.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of General Virology
Volume102
Issue number2
Early online date08 Sep 2020
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 01 Feb 2021

Keywords

  • Virology

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