American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Interaction of a C-terminal Truncated Hepatitis C Virus Core Protein with Plasmid DNA Vaccine Leads to in vitro Assembly of Heterogeneous Virus-like Particles

Nelson Acosta-Rivero, Joanna Poutou, Alexis Mussachio, Viviana Falcon, Yaraima Aguilera, Armando Rodriguez, Angel Perez, Julio C. Aguilar, Maria C de la Rosa, Felix Alvarez, Juan Morales-Grillo, Juan Kouri and Santiago Dueñas-Carrera

DOI : 10.3844/ajidsp.2005.66.72

American Journal of Infectious Diseases

Volume 1, Issue 1

Pages 66-72

Abstract

Recently, it has been shown that HCV core proteins (HCcAg) with C-terminal deletions assemble in vitro into virus-like particles (VLPs) in the presence of structured RNA molecules. Results presented in this work showed that a truncated HCcAg variant covering the first 120 aa (HCcAg.120) with a 32 aa N-terminal fusion peptide (6xHistag-XpressTMepitope) interacts with plasmid DNA vaccine. Interestingly, the buoyant density of VLPs containing HCcAg.120 in CsCl gradients changed from 1.15-1,17 g mLˉ1 to 1.30-1.34 g mLˉ1 after addition of plasmid DNA to assembly reactions. In addition, a delay in electrophoretic mobility of HCcAg.120-plasmid samples on agarose gels was observed indicating a direct interaction between VLPs and nucleic acids. Remarkably, addition of either plasmid DNA or tRNA to assembly reactions leaded to heterogeneous and larger VLPs formation than those observed in HCcAg.120 assembly reactions. VLPs containing HCcAg.120 induced a specific IgG antibodies in mice that reacted with hepatocytes from HCV-infected patients. VLPs obtained in this work would be important to elucidate the mechanisms behind the ability of HCcAg to assemble into a nucleocapsid structure. Besides, the capacity of particles containing HCcAg.120 to interact with nucleic acids could be used in the development of DNA vaccines and viral vectors based on these particles.

Copyright

© 2005 Nelson Acosta-Rivero, Joanna Poutou, Alexis Mussachio, Viviana Falcon, Yaraima Aguilera, Armando Rodriguez, Angel Perez, Julio C. Aguilar, Maria C de la Rosa, Felix Alvarez, Juan Morales-Grillo, Juan Kouri and Santiago Dueñas-Carrera. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.