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Genetic and pharmacological perturbation of hepatitis-C virus entry.

Hepatitis-C virus (HCV) chronically infects 58 million individuals worldwide with variable disease outcome. While a subfraction of individuals exposed to the virus clear the infection, the majority develop chronic infection if untreated. Another subfraction of chronically ill proceeds to severe liver disease. The underlying causes of this interindividual variability include genetic polymorphisms in interferon genes. Here, we review available data on the influence of genetic or pharmacological perturbation of HCV host dependency factors on the clinically observed interindividual differences in disease outcome. We focus on host factors mediating virus entry into human liver cells. We assess available data on genetic variants of the major entry factors scavenger receptor class-B type I, CD81, claudin-1, and occludin as well as pharmacological perturbation of these entry factors. We review cell culture experimental and clinical cohort study data and conclude that entry factor perturbation may contribute to disease outcome of hepatitis C.

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