Hepatitis C virus enzyme sites revealed

July 24, 2006

U.S. researchers say the crystal structure of one of the hepatitis C viral proteins might offer new opportunities for antiviral drug design.

Charles Rice and colleagues at Rockefeller University say the viral genome encodes a single polyprotein, which cleaves into proteins including the NS2-3 protease.

The crystal structure of the protease catalytic domain reveals a novel structure: it is actually a dimer composed of two identical proteins that each contributes amino acids to two equivalent active sites.

The researchers say concentration and dimerization of NS2-3 may be a limiting factor in the viral life cycle because the protease is essential for viral replication. Therefore, details of the structure might help in the search for small-molecule inhibitors directed against the active site.

The disease affects an estimated 170 million people worldwide, often leading to cirrhosis and liver cancer.

The study is detailed in this week's issue of the journal Nature.

Copyright 2006 by United Press International

Explore further: Researchers resurrect ancient viruses in hopes of improving gene therapy

Related Stories

Why do mitochondria retain their own genome?

July 24, 2015

It sounds like science fiction to suggest that every cell in the human body is occupied by a tiny genome-equipped organelle, with which we exist in symbiosis. But in actuality, eukaryotic life is dependent on mitochondria, ...

Scientists unravel elusive structure of HIV protein

July 1, 2015

HIV, or human immunodeficiency virus, is the retrovirus that leads to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome or AIDS. Globally, about 35 million people are living with HIV, which constantly adapts and mutates creating challenges ...

Recommended for you

Earliest evidence of reproduction in a complex organism

August 3, 2015

Researchers led by the University of Cambridge have found the earliest example of reproduction in a complex organism. Their new study has found that some organisms known as rangeomorphs, which lived 565 million years ago, ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.