Differential interaction strategies of hepatitis c virus genotypes during entry - An in silico investigation of envelope glycoprotein E2 - CD81 interaction.


Department of Life Sciences, Presidency University, 86/1 College Street, Kolkata, 700073, India. Electronic address: [Email]


Hepatitis C Virus is a blood borne pathogen responsible for chronic hepatitis in more than 71 million people. Wide variations across strains and genotypes are one of the major hurdles in therapeutic development. While genotype 1 remains the most extensively studied and abundant strain, genotype 3 is more virulent and second most prevalent. This study aimed to compare differences in the glycoprotein E2 across HCV genotypes at nucleotide, protein and structural levels. Nucleotide sequences of E2 from 29 strains across genotypes 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b revealed a stark preference for C-richness which was attributed to a distinct bias for C-rich codons in genotype 1. Genotype 3 exhibited a similar preference to a lesser extent. Amino acid level comparison revealed majority of the changes at the C-terminal half of the proteins leaving the N-terminal region conspicuously conserved apart from the two hyper variable regions. Amino acid changes across genotypes were mostly polar-nonpolar alterations. In silico models of E2 glycoproteins and docking analysis with the energy minimized PDB-CD81 model revealed unique interacting residues in both E2 and CD81. While several CD81 binding residues were common for all four genotypes, number and composition of interacting residues varied. The interacting residues of E2 were however unique for each genotype. E2 of genotype 3a and CD81 had the strongest interaction. In conclusion this is the first comprehensive study comparing E2 sequences across genotypes 1a, 1b, 3a and 3b revealing stark genotype-specific differences which requires more extensive investigation.


CD81,Envelope glycoprotein E2,HCV,Protein docking,