CD81 large extracellular loop-containing fusion proteins with a dominant negative effect on HCV cell spread and replication

J Gen Virol. 2017 Jul;98(7):1646-1657. doi: 10.1099/jgv.0.000850. Epub 2017 Jul 19.


The roles of CD81 in the hepatitis C virus (HCV) life cycle are multiple but remain ill characterized. CD81 is known to interact with the HCV glycoproteins as an attachment factor. It also has an important role in the post-attachment entry process. Its interaction with claudin-1, for example, is vital for viral uptake and trafficking. Furthermore, CD81 and its role in membrane organization and trafficking are thought to play a pivotal role in HCV replication. Some of these functions are particularly limited to human CD81; others can be substituted with CD81 molecules from other species. However, with the exception of the large extracellular loop sequence, the structure-function analysis of CD81 in the HCV infectious cycle remains ill characterized. We describe here the fusion molecules between the large extracellular loops of human or mouse CD81 and lipid-raft-associated or unassociated GPI anchors. These fusion molecules have strong antiviral activity in a dominant negative fashion, independent of membrane raft association. Their expression in the hepatoma cell line Huh7.5 blocks HCV uptake, transmission and replication. These molecules will be useful to decipher the various roles of CD81 in the HCV life cycle and transmission in more detail.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • HEK293 Cells
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • HeLa Cells
  • Hepacivirus / physiology*
  • Hepatitis C / transmission*
  • Humans
  • Membrane Microdomains / metabolism*
  • Mice
  • Protein Binding / physiology
  • Tetraspanin 28 / genetics
  • Tetraspanin 28 / metabolism*
  • Viral Envelope Proteins / metabolism*
  • Virus Attachment*
  • Virus Internalization
  • Virus Replication / physiology*


  • Tetraspanin 28
  • Viral Envelope Proteins
  • glycoprotein E2, Hepatitis C virus