Virion-independent transfer of replication-competent hepatitis C virus RNA between permissive cells

J Virol. 2015 Mar;89(5):2956-61. doi: 10.1128/JVI.02721-14. Epub 2014 Dec 10.


In this study, we show that replication-competent subgenomic hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA can be transferred to permissive Huh7 cells, leading to the establishment of viral RNA replication. Further, we show that these events are mediated by exosomes rather than infectious virus particles. If similar events occur in vivo, this could represent a novel, albeit inefficient, mechanism of viral spread and immune escape.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Biological Transport
  • Cell Line
  • Exosomes / metabolism*
  • Hepacivirus / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatocytes / virology*
  • Humans
  • RNA, Viral / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication*


  • RNA, Viral