Hepatitis C virus budding at lipid droplet-associated ER membrane visualized by 3D electron microscopy


The mechanisms underlying hepatitis C virus (HCV) morphogenesis remain elusive, but lipid droplets have recently been shown to be important organelles for virus production. We investigated the interaction between HCV-like particles and lipid droplets by three-dimensional reconstructions of serial ultrathin electron microscopy sections of cells producing the HCV core protein. The budding of HCV-like particles was mostly initiated at membranes close to the lipid droplets rather than at membranes directly apposed to the lipid droplets. This may have important implications for our understanding of the complex relationship between HCV and lipids and may make easier to dissect out the HCV life cycle.

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Our work is supported by a grant from ANRS (Agence Nationale de la Recherche sur le SIDA et les hépatites virales) and the Région Centre (Equipe ESPRI). We thank Brigitte Arbeille for her help in setting up our EM studies and Sylvie Trassard for technical assistance with immuno-EM. Our data were obtained with the assistance of the RIO-Ibisa Electron Microscopy Facility of François Rabelais University.

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Correspondence to Philippe Roingeard.

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Roingeard, P., Hourioux, C., Blanchard, E. et al. Hepatitis C virus budding at lipid droplet-associated ER membrane visualized by 3D electron microscopy. Histochem Cell Biol 130, 561–566 (2008).

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  • HCV
  • Lipid droplet
  • Virus morphogenesis
  • Electron microscopy (EM)
  • 3D