Japanese journal of infectious diseases

Development of an infectious surrogate hepatitis C virus based on a recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus expressing hepatitis C virus envelope glycoproteins and green fluorescent protein.

PMID 25672345


To develop surrogate viruses for hepatitis C virus (HCV), we previously produced recombinant vesicular stomatitis viruses (rVSVs) lacking glycoprotein G but instead expressing chimeric HCV E1/E2 fused to G. These rVSVs were not infectious in HCV-susceptible hepatoma cells. In this study, to develop an infectious surrogate HCV based on an rVSV (vesicular stomatitis virus [VSV]/HCV), we generated a novel rVSV encoding the native E1/E2 (H77 strain) and green fluorescent protein (GFP) instead of G. Here, we showed that this VSV/HCV efficiently infected human hepatoma cells, including Huh7 human hepatoma cells, expressed GFP in these cells, and propagated, but did not do so in nonsusceptible BHK-21 cells. The infectivity of VSV/HCV, measured as the number of foci of GFP-positive cells, was specifically reduced by the addition of chimpanzee anti-HCV serum, anti-E2 antibody, or anti-CD81 antibody to the cultures. When sera obtained from HCV-infected or uninfected patients were added, infection was selectively inhibited only by the sera of HCV-infected patients. These data together suggest that this infectious GFP-expressing VSV/HCV could be a useful tool for studying the mechanisms of HCV entry into cells and for assessing potential inhibitors of viral entry, including neutralizing antibodies.