The elusive function of the hepatitis C virus p7 protein

Virology. 2014 Aug:462-463:377-87. doi: 10.1016/j.virol.2014.04.018. Epub 2014 Jul 4.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major global health burden with 2-3% of the world's population being chronically infected. Persistent infection can lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. Recently available treatment options show enhanced efficacy of virus clearance, but are associated with resistance and significant side effects. This warrants further research into the basic understanding of viral proteins and their pathophysiology. The p7 protein of HCV is an integral membrane protein that forms an ion-channel. The role of p7 in the HCV life cycle is presently uncertain, but most of the research performed to date highlights its role in the virus assembly process. The aim of this review is to provide an overview of the literature investigating p7, its structural and functional details, and to summarize the developments to date regarding potential anti-p7 compounds. A better understanding of this protein may lead to development of a new and effective therapy.

Keywords: Assembly; HCV; Hepatitis C virus; Viroporin; p7.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Viral Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Assembly*


  • Viral Proteins
  • p7 protein, Hepatitis C virus