Caister Academic Press

CIMB Abstract

Curr. Issues Mol. Biol. (2007) 9: 63-70.

The Hepatitis C Virus NS2/3 Protease

Sarah Welbourn and Arnim Pause

The hepatitis C virus NS2/3 protein is a highly hydrophobic protease responsible for the cleavage of the viral polypeptide between non-structural proteins NS2 and NS3. However, many aspects of the NS2/3 protease's role in the viral life cycle and mechanism of action remain unknown. Based on the recently elucidated crystal structure of NS2, NS2/3 has been proposed to function as a cysteine protease despite its lack of sequence homology to proteases of known function. In addition, although shown to be required for HCV genome replication and persistent infection in a chimpanzee, the role of NS2/3 cleavage in the viral life cycle has not yet been fully investigated. However, several recent studies are beginning to clarify possible roles of the cleaved NS2 protein in modulation of host cell gene expression and apoptosis.

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