Differential expression of candidate virus receptors in human T lymphocytes prone or resistant to infection with patient-derived hepatitis C virus

PLoS One. 2013 Apr 23;8(4):e62159. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0062159. Print 2013.


Accumulated evidence implies that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects not only the liver but also the immune system. A lymphocyte-specific CD5 molecule was recently identified as essential for infection of T cells with native, patient-derived HCV. To assess whether the proposed hepatocyte receptors may also contribute to HCV lymphotropism, expression of scavenger receptor-class B type 1 (SR-B1), claudin-1 (CLDN-1), claudin-6 (CLDN-6), occludin (OCLN), CD5 and CD81 was examined by real-time RT-PCR and the respective proteins quantified by immunoblotting in HCV-prone and resistant T cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), primary T cells and their subsets, and compared to hepatoma Huh7.5 and HepG2 cells. SR-B1 protein was found in T and hepatoma cell lines but not in PBMC or primary T lymphocytes, CLDN-1 in HCV-resistant PM1 T cell line and hepatoma cells only, while CLDN-6 equally in the cells investigated. OCLN protein occurred in HCV-susceptible Molt4 and Jurkat T cells and its traces in primary T cells, but not in PBMC. CD5 was displayed by HCV-prone T cell lines, primary T cells and PBMC, but not by non-susceptible T and hepatoma cell lines, while CD81 in all cell types except HepG2. Knocking-down OCLN in virus-prone T cell line inhibited HCV infection, while de novo infection downregulated OCLN and CD81, and upregulated CD5 without modifying SR-B1 expression. Overall, while no association between SR-B1, CLDN-1 or CLDN-6 and the susceptibility to HCV was found, CD5 and CD81 expression coincided with virus lymphotropism and that of OCLN with permissiveness of T cell lines but unlikely primary T cells. This study narrowed the range of factors potentially utilized by HCV to infect T lymphocytes amongst those uncovered using laboratory HCV and Huh7.5 cells. Together with the demonstrated role for CD5 in HCV lymphotropism, the findings indicate that virus utilizes different molecules to enter hepatocytes and lymphocytes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD36 Antigens / genetics
  • CD36 Antigens / metabolism
  • CD5 Antigens / genetics
  • CD5 Antigens / metabolism
  • Cell Line
  • Claudins / genetics
  • Claudins / metabolism
  • Gene Expression Regulation*
  • Gene Knockdown Techniques
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C / virology*
  • Humans
  • Jurkat Cells
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / virology
  • Occludin / genetics
  • Occludin / metabolism
  • Receptors, Virus / genetics*
  • Receptors, Virus / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism*
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / virology*
  • Tetraspanin 28 / genetics
  • Tetraspanin 28 / metabolism


  • CD36 Antigens
  • CD5 Antigens
  • CLDN7 protein, human
  • Claudins
  • OCLN protein, human
  • Occludin
  • Receptors, Virus
  • Tetraspanin 28
  • claudin 6