New mouse model for hepatitis C

September 19, 2013 by Catherine Zandonella, Princeton University

Hepatitis C affects about three million people in the U.S. and is a leading cause of chronic liver disease, so creating a vaccine and new treatments is an important public health goal. Most research to date has been done in chimpanzees because they are one of a handful of species that become infected and spread the virus.

Now researchers led by Alexander Ploss of Princeton University and Charles Rice of the Rockefeller University have generated a mouse that can become infected with hepatitis C virus (HCV). They reported the advance in the Sept 12 issue of the journal Nature. "The entire life cycle of the virus—from infection of to , assembly of new particles, and release from the infected cell—occurs in these mice," said Ploss, who joined the Princeton faculty in July 2013 as assistant professor of molecular biology.

Ploss and his colleagues have been working for some time on the challenge of creating a small animal model for studying the disease. Four years ago, while at the Rockefeller University in New York, Ploss and Rice identified two human proteins, known as CD81 and occludin, that enable to become infected with HCV (Nature 2009). In a follow up study Ploss and colleagues showed that a mouse engineered to express these human proteins could become infected with HCV, although the animals could not spread the virus (Nature 2011).

In the present study, which included colleagues at Osaka University and the Scripps Research Institute, the researchers bred the human-protein-containing mice with another strain that had a defective immune system – one that could not easily rid the body of viruses. The resulting mice not only become infected, but could potentially pass the virus to other susceptible mice.

The availability of this new way to study HCV could help researchers discover new vaccines and treatments, although Ploss cautioned that more work needs to be done to refine the model.

Explore further: Scientists create first genetically humanized mouse model for hepatitis C

More information: Dorner, M. et al. Completion of the entire hepatitis C virus life cycle in genetically humanized mice, Nature 501, 237–241, 31 July 2013. DOI: 10.1038/nature12427.

Related Stories

Scientists create first genetically humanized mouse model for hepatitis C

June 8, 2011
Scientists at Rockefeller University and The Scripps Research Institute have developed the first genetically humanized mouse model for hepatitis C, an achievement that will enable researchers to test molecules that block ...

New focus to combat rising liver disease

July 26, 2013
University of Adelaide researchers are investigating how the liver responds to hepatitis C virus (HCV) and why some people can control the virus while others can't. The aim is to find better therapies to combat hepatitis ...

Women have higher rate of spontaneous clearance of hepatitis C virus

September 12, 2013
A study of patients infected with acute hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection found that women had higher rates of spontaneous viral clearance—undetectable levels of the virus without initiating drug therapy. Findings published ...

Researchers develop first successful laboratory model for studying hepatitis C

August 2, 2013
By differentiating monkey stem cells into liver cells and inducing successful infection, researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai have shown for the first time that the hepatitis C virus (HCV) can replicate ...

Recommended for you

Magnetically applied MicroRNAs could one day help relieve constipation

January 17, 2018
Constipation is an underestimated and debilitating medical issue related to the opioid epidemic. As a growing concern, researchers look to new tools to help patients with this side effect of opioid use and aging.

Researchers devise decoy molecule to block pain where it starts

January 16, 2018
For anyone who has accidentally injured themselves, Dr. Zachary Campbell not only sympathizes, he's developing new ways to blunt pain.

Scientists unleash power of genetic data to identify disease risk

January 16, 2018
Massive banks of genetic information are being harnessed to shed new light on modifiable health risks that underlie common diseases.

Blood-vessel-on-a-chip provides insight into new anti-inflammatory drug candidate

January 15, 2018
One of the most important and fraught processes in the human body is inflammation. Inflammatory responses to injury or disease are crucial for recruiting the immune system to help the body heal, but inflammation can also ...

Molecule produced by fat cells reduces obesity and diabetes in mice

January 15, 2018
UC San Francisco researchers have discovered a new biological pathway in fat cells that could explain why some people with obesity are at high risk for metabolic diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The new findings—demonstrated ...

Obese fat becomes inflamed and scarred, which may make weight loss harder

January 12, 2018
The fat of obese people becomes distressed, scarred and inflamed, which can make weight loss more difficult, research at the University of Exeter has found.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.