Date de publication

12 décembre 2019


Kato, N., Ueda, Y et al


The most characteristic feature of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome in patients with chronic hepatitis C is its remarkable variability and diversity. To better understand this feature, we performed genetic analysis of HCV replicons recovered from two human hepatoma HuH-7-derived cell lines after 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9 years in culture: The cell lines 50-1 and sO harbored HCV 1B-1 and O strain-derived HCV replicons established in 2002 and 2003, respectively. The results revealed that genetic variations in both replicons accumulated in a time-dependent manner at a constant rate despite the maintenance of moderate diversity (less than 1.8% difference) between the clones and that the mutation rate in the 50-1 and sO replicons was 2.5 and 2.9 × 10−3 base substitutions/site/year, respectively. We found that the genetic distance of both replicons increased from 7.9% to 10.5% after 9 years in culture. In addition, we observed that the guanine + cytosine (GC) content of both replicon RNAs increased in a time-dependent manner, as observed in our previous studies. Finally, we demonstrated that the high sensitivity of both replicons to direct-acting antivirals was maintained even after 9 years in culture. Our results suggest that long-term cultured HCV replicon-harboring cells are a useful model for understanding the variability and diversity of the HCV genome and the drug sensitivity of HCV in patients with chronic hepatitis C.