Role of different regions of the hepatitis C virus genome in the therapeutic response to interferon-based treatment
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- Khaliq, S., Latief, N. & Jahan, S. Arch Virol (2014) 159: 1. doi:10.1007/s00705-013-1780-x
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is considered a significant risk factor in HCV-induced liver diseases and development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Nucleotide substitutions in the viral genome result in its diversification into quasispecies, subtypes and distinct genotypes. Different genotypes vary in their infectivity and immune response due to these nucleotide/amino acid variations. The current combination treatment for HCV infection is pegylated interferon α (PEG-IFN-α) with ribavirin, with a highly variable response rate mainly depending upon the HCV genotype. Genotypes 2 and 3 are found to respond better than genotypes 1 and 4, which are more resistant to IFN-based therapies. Different studies have been conducted worldwide to explore the basis of this difference in therapy response, which identified some putative regions in the HCV genome, especially in Core and NS5a, and to some extent in the E2 region, containing specific sequences in different genotypes that act differently with respect to the IFN response. In the review, we try to summarize the role of HCV proteins and their nucleotide sequences in association with treatment outcome in IFN-based therapy.