The lack of a robust cell culture model is one of the reasons why the hepatitis E virus (HEV) has been little investigated to date. "The number of infectious virus particles produced in previous models was simply too small to generate reproducible results," explains Dr. Daniel Todt, author from Bochum.
In previous studies, the research team analysed virus populations resulting from genetic mutations of the virus in patients and identified a specific genetic change that leads to a significantly higher proliferation of the pathogen. The scientists inserted this mutation into the previously used cell lines and were thus able to increase the production of new virus particles by a factor of five to ten.
Article - Cell - Culture - Conditions - Culture
In their current article, they optimised the cell culture conditions by adding special culture media and using different liver cell lines. These measures resulted in approximately 100 times more infectious virus particles than previously published.
In order to verify whether the new cell culture model can be used to study the virus, the researchers carried out several experiments. For example, they tested whether enveloped and naked viruses are produced in the same way. "Both variants of the virus occur in HEV patients," explains study author Martina Friesland from the Experimental Virology at Twincore Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research in Hanover. "However, they are responsible for different routes of infection. While the enveloped virus is transmitted by blood-blood contact, such as transfusions, the naked virus is excreted via the stool and causes infection for example through contaminated drinking water." Both variants can now be studied with the new cell culture model.
Study - Authors - Mutation - Proliferation - Hepatitis
In a previous study, the authors had shown that the mutation leads to increased proliferation in all hepatitis E viruses, and that this is also the case in various liver cell lines used in the research. In the...
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