Genome-to-genome analysis highlights the effect of the human innate and adaptive immune systems on the hepatitis C virus

Nat Genet. 2017 May;49(5):666-673. doi: 10.1038/ng.3835. Epub 2017 Apr 10.


Outcomes of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and treatment depend on viral and host genetic factors. Here we use human genome-wide genotyping arrays and new whole-genome HCV viral sequencing technologies to perform a systematic genome-to-genome study of 542 individuals who were chronically infected with HCV, predominantly genotype 3. We show that both alleles of genes encoding human leukocyte antigen molecules and genes encoding components of the interferon lambda innate immune system drive viral polymorphism. Additionally, we show that IFNL4 genotypes determine HCV viral load through a mechanism dependent on a specific amino acid residue in the HCV NS5A protein. These findings highlight the interplay between the innate immune system and the viral genome in HCV control.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / genetics*
  • Alleles
  • Genetic Variation
  • Genome, Human / genetics*
  • Genome, Viral / genetics*
  • Genotype
  • HLA Antigens / genetics
  • Hepacivirus / genetics*
  • Hepacivirus / physiology
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / genetics*
  • Hepatitis C, Chronic / virology
  • Host-Pathogen Interactions / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics*
  • Interleukins / genetics
  • Logistic Models
  • Principal Component Analysis
  • Viral Load / genetics
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins / genetics


  • HLA Antigens
  • IFNL4 protein, human
  • Interleukins
  • NS-5 protein, hepatitis C virus
  • Viral Nonstructural Proteins