Quantitative proteomics identifies the membrane-associated peroxidase GPx8 as a cellular substrate of the hepatitis C virus NS3-4A protease

Hepatology. 2014 Feb;59(2):423-33. doi: 10.1002/hep.26671. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


The hepatitis C virus (HCV) NS3-4A protease is not only an essential component of the viral replication complex and a prime target for antiviral intervention but also a key player in the persistence and pathogenesis of HCV. It cleaves and thereby inactivates two crucial adaptor proteins in viral RNA sensing and innate immunity, mitochondrial antiviral signaling protein (MAVS) and TRIF, a phosphatase involved in growth factor signaling, T-cell protein tyrosine phosphatase (TC-PTP), and the E3 ubiquitin ligase component UV-damaged DNA-binding protein 1 (DDB1). Here we explored quantitative proteomics to identify novel cellular substrates of the NS3-4A protease. Cell lines inducibly expressing the NS3-4A protease were analyzed by stable isotopic labeling using amino acids in cell culture (SILAC) coupled with protein separation and mass spectrometry. This approach identified the membrane-associated peroxidase GPx8 as a bona fide cellular substrate of the HCV NS3-4A protease. Cleavage by NS3-4A occurs at Cys 11, removing the cytosolic tip of GPx8, and was observed in different experimental systems as well as in liver biopsies from patients with chronic HCV. Overexpression and RNA silencing studies revealed that GPx8 is involved in viral particle production but not in HCV entry or RNA replication.

Conclusion: We provide proof-of-concept for the use of quantitative proteomics to identify cellular substrates of a viral protease and describe GPx8 as a novel proviral host factor targeted by the HCV NS3-4A protease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Biopsy
  • Cell Line
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / metabolism*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / pathology
  • Humans
  • Liver / drug effects
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Liver / pathology
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptide Hydrolases / chemistry
  • Peptide Hydrolases / metabolism*
  • Peptide Hydrolases / pharmacology
  • Peroxidases / chemistry
  • Peroxidases / drug effects
  • Peroxidases / metabolism*
  • Proteomics / methods*
  • Substrate Specificity
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / pathology
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virion / drug effects


  • NS3 protein, hepatitis C virus
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins
  • GPX8 protein, human
  • Peroxidases
  • Peptide Hydrolases