The hepatitis C virus NS5A protein and response to interferon α: mutational analyses in patients with chronic HCV genotype 3a infection from India
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- Goyal, A., Hofmann, W.P., Hermann, E. et al. Med Microbiol Immunol (2007) 196: 11. doi:10.1007/s00430-006-0024-z
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The hepatitis C virus (HCV) non-structural (NS)5A protein is linked to interferon α resistance in vitro and higher numbers of NS5A amino acid (aa) variations in HCV 1a/b isolates are associated with virologic response to interferon α-based therapy in vivo. Here, we aimed to study NS5A aa variations in Indian patients undergoing interferon α/ribavirin treatment infected with HCV 3a. The NS5A region [aa 2194–2401, comprising interferon sensitivity determining region, protein kinase resource (PKR) binding domain, V3 region] was sequenced from pre-treatment sera of 24 patients with HCV 3a infection. Mean number and physicochemical properties of aa variations (conserved vs. non-conserved) were assessed. Additionally, published NS5A sequences [NS5A region (n = 61), PKR binding domain (n = 111)] of characterized HCV 3a isolates were analyzed. The mean number of NS5A aa variations was not correlated with treatment response in our cohort. When all available NS5A sequences were included, a higher number of non-conserved aa variations within PKR binding domain and an extended V3 region of NS5A was associated with virologic response (P = 0.004 and 0.05, respectively). Mutational analyses of a large number of NS5A sequences suggest, that a higher number of non-conserved aa variations within the PKR binding domain and the extended V3 region is correlated with virologic response in HCV 3a infected patients.