Hepatitis C virus entry: beyond receptors.
Meredith LW., Wilson GK., Fletcher NF., McKeating JA.
HCV is a blood-borne pathogen that affects approximately 3% of the global population and leads to progressive liver disease. Recent advances have identified an essential role for host cell molecules: tetraspanin CD81, scavenger receptor B1 and the tight junction proteins claudin-1 and occludin in HCV entry, suggesting a complex multi-step process. The conserved nature of this receptor-dependent step in the viral life cycle offers an attractive target for therapeutic intervention. Evidence is emerging that additional factors other than classical receptors, such as inflammatory mediators regulate the ability of hepatocytes to support HCV entry, and as such may provide potential avenues for drug design and development. In this review, we summarise the recent literature on HCV entry mechanisms with a view to realising the future potential of therapeutically targeting this process.