The persistent nature of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection suggests that HCV encodes proteins that enable it to overcome host antiviral responses. Toll-like receptor 3 (TLR3)-mediated signaling, which recognizes the double-stranded RNA that is produced during viral replication and induces type I interferons, including interferon beta (IFN-beta), is crucial to the host defense against viruses. Recent studies suggest that a TIR domain-containing adaptor protein, TRIF, and two protein kinases, TANK-binding kinase-1 (TBK1) and IkappaB kinase-epsilon (IKKepsilon), play essential roles in TLR3-mediated IFN-beta production through the activation of the transcriptional factor interferon regulatory factor 3 (IRF-3). We report that the HCV NS3 protein interacts directly with TBK1, and that this binding results in the inhibition of the association between TBK1 and IRF-3, which leads to the inhibition of IRF-3 activation. In conclusion, these results suggest the mechanisms of the inhibition of the innate immune responses of HCV infection by NS3 protein.