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Title: Structural and electrophysiological analysis of Hepatitis C Virus p7
Author: Oestringer, Benjamin Paul
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2013
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Infection with the hepatitis C virus (HCV) has a big impact on global health. It is estimated that approximately 3 % of the world’s population carry HCV, putting more than 200 million people at risk of developing severe liver disease, including chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The HCV encoded viroporin p7 forms ion channels that are crucial for the assembly and secretion of infectious viruses, making it a potential drug target. Its hydrophobic nature makes p7 notoriously difficult to investigate in an untagged native form. A previously determined 16 Å electron microscopy single-particle reconstruction in detergent showed a hexameric, flower-shaped p7 protein. In conjunction with one hexameric and several monomeric p7 solution state NMR structures published, this constitutes the currently available structural information framework. An E. coli expression system is introduced, which is especially adapted to express isotopically labeled p7. For the first time, suitable solution-state NMR conditions at physiological pH and temperature were identified that gave rise to high quality spectra suitable to interrogate iminosugar drug interactions with untagged isotopically labeled J4 p7 (C27S) solubilised in detergent. A novel secondary structure topology was observed and preliminary iminosugar binding sites were determined. Further, a DIB (droplet interface bilayer) system to analyse p7 ion channel function was established, which is suitable to elucidate how inhibitors act on p7 genotypes and how different lipids influence the ion channel function of p7. The p7 oligomeric state was further investigated using native gel analysis, showing that isolates representing HCV genotypes 1 - 6 form oligomeric complexes. An ion channel defective dibasic mutant implicated in severely compromising viral fitness is also shown for the first time to form an oligomer, implicating that it is not an assembly problem that leads to the abrogated function.
Supervisor: Zitzmann, Nicole Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Biochemistry ; Hepatitis C Virus ; p7 ; viroporin ; iminosugar