B-Cell Epitopes in Hypervariable Region 1 of Hepatitis C Virus Obtained From Patients With Chronic Persistent Hepatitis

B-Cell Epitopes in Hypervariable Region 1 of Hepatitis C Virus Obtained From Patients With Chronic Persistent Hepatitis

B-Cell Epitopes in Hypervariable Region 1 of Hepatitis C Virus Obtained From Patients With Chronic Persistent Hepatitis

Abstract

The hypervariable domain (HVR1) within the N-terminus of the E2 protein of hepatitis C virus (HCV) is known to be variable antigenically during the course of persistent infection. The aim of the study was to detect B-cell epitopes in HVR1 responsible for neutralizing HCV. The B-cell epitopes were analyzed using two series of synthetic peptides: 25 heptapeptides from the most common amino acids within 73 HVR1 sequences, and 216 heptapeptides, the sequences of which cover more than 65% of the 73 HVR1 sequences. Sera from three patients with chronic hepatitis C were tested for reactivity to the synthetic peptide sequences by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). The post-interferon (IFN) serum of one patient who had a long-term response to treatment reacted specifically with 13 heptapeptides of 216 variable sequences of HVR1. Some of the amino acid sequences (amino acids 398, 399, 400, 404) of the heptapeptides were also found in those deduced from the nucleotide sequences of HCV genomes in the pre-IFN serum. The sera of the other two patients who did not respond to treatment did not react with the 13 heptapeptides. It is concluded that the B-cell epitopes in HVR1 may be relevant for eliminating viremia in the case of the patient who had a good response to treatment. These results suggest that the analysis of the B-cell epitopes recognized in HVR1 may be important in understanding the mechanism of persistentinfection and progression of hepatitis.

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