Network based analysis of hepatitis C virus core and NS4B protein interactions

Mol Biosyst. 2010 Dec;6(12):2539-53. doi: 10.1039/c0mb00103a. Epub 2010 Oct 18.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease worldwide. Here we attempt to further our understanding of the biological context of protein interactions in HCV pathogenesis, by investigating interactions between HCV proteins Core and NS4B and human host proteins. Using the yeast two-hybrid (Y2H) membrane protein system, eleven human host proteins interacting with Core and 45 interacting with NS4B were identified, most of which are novel. These interactions were used to infer overall protein interaction maps linking the viral proteins with components of the host cellular networks. Core and NS4B proteins contribute to highly compact interaction networks that may enable the virus to respond rapidly to host physiological responses to HCV infection. Analysis of the interaction networks highlighted enriched biological pathways likely influenced in HCV infection. Inspection of individual interactions offered further insights into the possible mechanisms that permit HCV to evade the host immune response and appropriate host metabolic machinery. Follow-up cellular assays with cell lines infected with HCV genotype 1b and 2a strains validated Core interacting proteins ENO1 and SLC25A5 and host protein PXN as novel regulators of HCV replication and viral production. ENO1 siRNA knockdown was found to inhibit HCV replication in both the HCV genotypes and viral RNA release in genotype 2a. PXN siRNA inhibition was observed to inhibit replication specifically in genotype 1b but not in genotype 2a, while SLC25A5 siRNA facilitated a minor increase in the viral RNA release in genotype 2a. Thus, our analysis can provide potential targets for more effective anti-HCV therapeutic intervention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Hepacivirus / metabolism*
  • Hepacivirus / physiology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions
  • Humans
  • Protein Binding
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Signal Transduction*
  • Two-Hybrid System Techniques
  • Viral Core Proteins / metabolism*
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication


  • NS4B protein, flavivirus
  • Viral Core Proteins
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • nucleocapsid protein, Hepatitis C virus