HCV glycoprotein structures: what to expect from the unexpected

Curr Opin Virol. 2015 Jun;12:53-8. doi: 10.1016/j.coviro.2015.02.004. Epub 2015 Mar 16.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is continuing to spread worldwide, adding three million new infections each year. Currently approved therapies are highly effective; however, access to them is limited due to the high cost of treatment. Therefore, a cost effective vaccine and alternative antivirals remain essential. HCV envelope glycoproteins, E1 and E2, heterodimerize on the virion surface and are the major determinant for virus pathogenicity and host immune response. Recent structural insights into amino-terminal domain of E1 and core of E2 have revealed unexpected folds not present in glycoproteins from related viruses. Here we discuss these structural findings with respect to their role in HCV entry and impact on potential vaccine design and new antivirals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepacivirus / chemistry*
  • Hepacivirus / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Protein Multimerization
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / chemistry*
  • Virion / chemistry


  • E1 protein, Hepatitis C virus
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein E2, Hepatitis C virus