A library of infectious hepatitis C viruses with engineered mutations in the E2 gene reveals growth-adaptive mutations that modulate interactions with scavenger receptor class B type I

Adam Zuiani, Kevin Chen, Megan C. Schwarz, James P. White, Vincent C. Luca, Daved H. Fremont, David Wang, Matthew J. Evans, Michael S. Diamond

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

While natural hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection results in highly diverse quasispecies of related viruses over time, mutations accumulate more slowly in tissue culture, in part because of the inefficiency of replication in cells. To create a highly diverse population of HCV particles in cell culture and identify novel growth-enhancing mutations, we engineered a library of infectious HCV with all codons represented at most positions in the ectodomain of the E2 gene. We identified many putative growth-adaptive mutations and selected nine highly represented E2 mutants for further study: Q412R, T416R, S449P, T563V, A579R, L619T, V626S, K632T, and L644I. We evaluated these mutants for changes in particle-to-infectious-unit ratio, sensitivity to neutralizing antibody or CD81 large extracellular loop (CD81-LEL) inhibition, entry factor usage, and buoyant density profiles. Q412R, T416R, S449P, T563V, and L619T were neutralized more efficiently by anti-E2 antibodies and T416R, T563V, and L619T by CD81-LEL. Remarkably, all nine variants showed reduced dependence on scavenger receptor class B type I (SR-BI) for infection. This shift from SR-BI usage did not correlate with a change in the buoyant density profiles of the variants, suggesting an altered E2-SR-BI interaction rather than changes in the virus-associated lipoprotein-E2 interaction. Our results demonstrate that residues influencing SR-BI usage are distributed across E2 and support the development of large-scale mutagenesis studies to identify viral variants with unique functional properties.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10499-10512
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of virology
Volume90
Issue number23
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

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