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1.  Antiviral Activity of β-l-2′,3′-Dideoxy-2′,3′-Didehydro-5-Fluorocytidine in Woodchucks Chronically Infected with Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus 
The l-nucleoside analog β-l-2′,3′-dideoxy-2′,3′-didehydro-5-fluorocytidine (β-l-Fd4C) was first shown to exhibit potent activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) in tissue culture and then to significantly inhibit viral spread during acute infection in the duck HBV model (F. Le Guerhier et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 44:111–122, 2000). We have therefore examined its antiviral activity in a mammalian model of chronic HBV infection, the woodchuck chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). Side-by-side comparison of β-l-Fd4C and lamivudine administered intraperitoneally during short-term and long-term protocols demonstrated a more profound inhibition of viremia in β-l-Fd4C-treated groups. Moreover, β-l-Fd4C induced a marked inhibition of intrahepatic viral DNA synthesis compared with that induced by lamivudine. Nevertheless, covalently closed circular (CCC) DNA persistence explained the lack of clearance of infected hepatocytes expressing viral antigens and the relapse of WHV replication after drug withdrawal. Liver histology showed a decrease in the inflammatory activity of chronic hepatitis in woodchucks receiving β-l-Fd4C. An electron microscopy study showed the absence of ultrastructural changes of hepatic mitochondria, biliary canaliculi, and bile ducts. However, a loss of weight was observed in all animals, whatever the treatment, as was a transient skin pigmentation in all woodchucks during β-l-Fd4C treatment. There was no evidence that lamivudine or β-l-Fd4C could prevent the development of hepatocellular carcinoma with the protocols used. These results indicate that β-l-Fd4C exhibits a more potent antiviral effect than lamivudine in the WHV model but was not able to eradicate CCC DNA and infected cells from the liver at the dosage and with the protocol used.
doi:10.1128/AAC.45.4.1065-1077.2001
PMCID: PMC90426  PMID: 11257017
2.  Expression of Noncovalent Hepatitis C Virus Envelope E1-E2 Complexes Is Not Required for the Induction of Antibodies with Neutralizing Properties following DNA Immunization 
Journal of Virology  1999;73(9):7497-7504.
Interactive glycoproteins present on the surface of viral particles represent the main target of neutralizing antibodies. The ability of DNA vaccination to induce antibodies directed at such structures was investigated by using eight different expression plasmids engineered either to favor or to prevent interaction between the hepatitis C virus (HCV) envelope glycoproteins E1 and E2. Independently of the injection route (intramuscular or intraepidermal), plasmids expressing antigens capable of forming heterodimers presumed to be the prebudding form of the HCV envelope protein complex failed to induce any significant, stable antibodies following injection in mice. In sharp contrast, high titers of antibodies directed at both conformational and linear determinants were induced by using plasmids expressing severely truncated antigens that have lost the ability to form native complexes. In addition, only a truncated form of E2 induced antibodies reacting against the hypervariable region 1 of E2 (specifically with the C-terminal part of it) known to contain a neutralization site. When injected intraepidermally into small primates, the truncated E2-encoding plasmid induced antibodies able to neutralize in vitro the binding of a purified E2 protein onto susceptible cells. Because such antibodies have been associated with viral clearance in both humans and chimpanzees, these findings may have important implications for the development of protective immunity against HCV.
PMCID: PMC104276  PMID: 10438839
3.  Treatment of polyarteritis nodosa related to hepatitis B virus with interferon-alpha and plasma exchanges. 
Annals of the Rheumatic Diseases  1994;53(5):334-337.
OBJECTIVES--To test the effectiveness of and tolerance to interferon-alpha 2b (INFa2b) in association with plasma exchanges for the treatment of polyarteritis nodosa (PAN) related to hepatitis B virus (HBV). METHODS--A prospective, non blinded, multicentre trial was carried out in which patients with multisystemic HBV-related PAN were included. Each patient received the association of INFa2b and plasma exchanges. The end point of the study was control of the disease (recovery or remission) or death. RESULTS--Six patients were included in the study. Each patient had histopathological or arteriographic evidence of vasculitis and was infected with actively replicating HBV. All patients were alive at the end of the study and no longer presented clinical or laboratory evidence of systemic vasculitis. HBeAg/anti-HBeAb seroconversion was observed in four patients (66.6%) and HBsAg/anti-HBsAb in 3/6 (50%). Two patients are still being treated with INFa2b because of chronic active hepatitis. CONCLUSIONS--It is considered that this new therapeutic approach to HBV-related PAN effectively cured systemic vasculitis and was associated with control of HBV infections. Antiviral therapy may have a role to play as the first line treatment regime of virus-induced vasculitis.
PMCID: PMC1005334  PMID: 7912504
4.  In vitro inhibition of hepatitis C virus gene expression by chemically modified antisense oligodeoxynucleotides. 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1996;40(10):2337-2344.
We have explored different domains within the hepatitis C virus (HCV) 5' noncoding region as potential targets for inhibition of HCV translation by antisense oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs). Inhibition assays were performed with two different cell-free systems, rabbit reticulocyte lysate and wheat germ extract, and three types of chemical structures for the ODNs were evaluated: natural phosphodiesters (beta-PO), alpha-anomer phosphodiesters (alpha-PO), and phosphorothioates (PS). A total of six original ODNs, displaying sequence-specific inhibition ranging from 62 to 96%, that mapped in the pyrimidine-rich tract (nucleotides [nt] 104 to 127) and in the initiator AUG codon (nt 338 to 357) were identified. Two ODNs, which were targeted at the initiatory AUG (nt 341 to 367 and 351 to 377) and which had been previously described as active against genotype 1b and 2a sequences, were shown to exhibit inhibition of expression (> 95%) of a type 1a sequence. Control experiments with the irrelevant chloramphenicol acetyltransferase sequence as a marker and randomized ODNs demonstrated that levels of inhibition associated with the use of PS compounds (of as much as 94%) were mainly due to nonspecific effects. Both alpha- and beta-PO ODNs were found equally active, and no difference could be seen in the activity of beta-PO when it was tested in either rabbit reticulocyte lysate or wheat germ extract, suggesting that RNase H-independent mechanisms may be involved in the inhibitions observed. However, specific RNA cleavage products generated from beta-PO inhibition experiments could be identified, indicating that, with these compounds, control of translation also involves RNase H-dependent mechanisms. This study further delimits the existence of favorable target sequences for the action of ODNs within the HCV 5' noncoding region and indicates the possibility of using nuclease-resistant alpha-PO compounds in cellular studies.
PMCID: PMC163531  PMID: 8891141
5.  n-Butyrate, a cell cycle blocker, inhibits early amplification of duck hepatitis B virus covalently closed circular DNA after in vitro infection of duck hepatocytes. 
Journal of Virology  1996;70(5):2691-2696.
During chronic hepadnavirus infection, virus persistence depends on the regulation of the pool of covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), which is the template for transcription of viral RNA species. The development of in vitro infection of duck hepatocyte primary cultures by duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) provides a unique opportunity to study the regulation of cccDNA synthesis. After DHBV in vitro infection, cccDNA is detected 1 day later and is amplified to a high copy number after 1 week in culture. We studied whether this amplification occurs during cell cycle progression of duckling hepatocytes. By using [3H]thymidine incorporation, we found that hepatocytes obtained from 3-week-old ducklings spontaneously entered the S phase of the cell cycle when cultured in serum-free medium without added growth factors. Bromodeoxyuridine labeling confirmed that cellular DNA synthesis took place in more than 50% of parenchymal cells. Cytofluorometry analysis revealed the presence of asynchronous populations and polyploidization processes. The addition of a cell cycle blocker, n-butyrate, completely inhibited [3H]thymidine incorporation and blocked duckling hepatocytes in the G1 phase of the cell cycle. Simultaneously, butyrate inhibited cccDNA amplification and allowed the establishment of DHBV infection, as demonstrated by the detection of a basal level of cccDNA in treated hepatocytes. Both effects were reversible since active cell DNA synthesis was restored and cccDNA accumulated after drug withdrawal.
PMCID: PMC190125  PMID: 8627742
6.  2',3'-dideoxy-beta-L-5-fluorocytidine inhibits duck hepatitis B virus reverse transcription and suppresses viral DNA synthesis in hepatocytes, both in vitro and in vivo. 
beta-L-Nucleoside analogs represent a new class of potent antiviral agents with low cytotoxicity which provide new hope in the therapy of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. We evaluated the anti-HBV activity of 2',3'-dideoxy-beta-L-5-fluorocytidine (beta-L-F-ddC), a beta-L-nucleoside analog derived from 2',3'-dideoxycytidine (ddC), in the duck HBV (DHBV) model. This compound was previously shown to inhibit HBV DNA synthesis in a stably transfected hepatoma cell line (F2215). Using a cell-free system for the expression of an enzymatically active DHBV polymerase, we could demonstrate that the triphosphate form of beta-L-F-ddC does inhibit hepadnavirus reverse transcription. In primary duck hepatocyte culture, beta-L-F-ddC showed a potent inhibitory effect on DHBV DNA synthesis which was concentration dependent. Although beta-L-F-ddC was shown to be less active than ddC against the DHBV reverse transcriptase in vitro, beta-L-F-ddC was a stronger inhibitor in hepatocytes. The oral administration of beta-L-F-ddC in experimentally infected ducklings showed that beta-L-F-ddC is a potent inhibitor of viral replication in vivo. Short-term therapy could not prevent a rebound of viral replication after the drug was withdrawn. Preventive therapy with beta-L-F-ddC could delay the onset of viremia by only 1 day compared with the time to the onset of viremia in the control group. The in vivo inhibitory effect of beta-L-F-ddC was much stronger than that of ddC and was not associated with signs of toxicity. Our data show that beta-L-F-ddC inhibits hepadnavirus reverse transcription and is a strong inhibitor of viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC163132  PMID: 8834896
7.  Specific detection of hepatitis C virus minus strand RNA in hematopoietic cells. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1996;97(3):845-851.
The presence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) negative strand RNA in extrahepatic compartments based on PCR detection assays has been suggested in many reports with a very heterologous detection rate (from 0 to 100%). In this study, we have analyzed the presence of HCV negative strand in hepatic (liver biopsies, n = 20) and extrahepatic (sera, n = 32; PBMC, n = 26 and fresh bone marrow cells, n = 8) compartments from infected patients with three different reverse transcriptase (RT)-PCR-based assays using primers located in the 5' noncoding region, with or without a tag selected to display different viral loads (10(5)-3 x 10(7) genomic equivalent/ml or gram) and viral genotypes (n = 5). Using synthetic as well as biological templates, we could document extensive artifactual detection of negative strand RNA, due to self priming and mispriming events, even either 5' noncoding region primer pair was used, whereas both artifacts were dramatically reduced (mispriming) or eliminated (selfpriming) using CAP-based RT-PCR assay. Mispriming artifacts were directly correlated to the titer of positive strand RNA present in the sample. Using the CAP-PCR assay, the presence of HCV negative strand RNA was found in 75% of livers (16:20) and only 8% of PBMC, independent of the genotype involved, but could not be documented in sera (0:32) and fresh bone marrow cells (0:6). These findings suggest that caution regarding the type of RT-PCR assay used and the level of HCV positive strand RNA present in the biological sample analyzed has to be taken to avoid false identification of viral reservoirs. The findings suggest that hematopoietic peripheral cells can support HCV replication, although in a very limited number of carriers.
PMCID: PMC507124  PMID: 8609243
8.  DNA-based immunization with chimeric vectors for the induction of immune responses against the hepatitis C virus nucleocapsid. 
Journal of Virology  1995;69(9):5798-5805.
Vectors expressing the first 58 amino acids of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) nucleocapsid alone or as a fusion protein with the middle (pre-S2 and S) or major (S) surface antigens of hepatitis B virus (HBV) were constructed. Intramuscular immunization of BALB/c mice with the chimeric constructs in the form of naked DNA elicited humoral responses to antigens from both viruses within 2 to 6 weeks postinjection. No anti-HCV responses were obtained in mice immunized with the vector expressing the HCV sequence in the nonfusion context. Sera from chimera-injected mice specifically recognized both HCV capsid and HBV surface antigens in enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay and immunoblot testing. Anti-HCV serum titers formed plateaus of approximately 1:3,000; these remained stable until the end of the study (18 weeks postinfection). Anti-HBV immune responses were found to be lower in the chimera-injected animals (< 200 mIU/ml) than in those immunized with the native HBV vector (> 2,000 mIU/ml). This is the first report of the use of DNA-based immunization for the generation of immune responses to an HCV protein. In addition, these findings show that it is possible to elicit responses to viral epitopes from two distinct viruses via DNA immunization with chimeric vectors.
PMCID: PMC189445  PMID: 7637024
9.  Serological responses to different genotypes of hepatitis C virus in France. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1994;32(1):211-212.
The relationship between hepatitis C virus (HCV) genotypes and antibody status was studied in 104 chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis patients and asymptomatic HCV-infected blood donors. On the basis of amplification of the nonstructural protein 3 (NS3) coding region by PCR and hybridization with specific probes, 55 and 42 patients were identified as being infected with type I and type II, respectively, according to the classification by H. Okamoto, K. Kurai, S. Okada, K. Yamamoto, H. Lizuka, T. Tanaka, S. Fukuda, F. Tsudaand, and S. Mishiro (Virology 188:331-341, 1992). All samples were tested for antibodies to 5.1.1, C-100, C-33, and C-22 proteins by a second-generation recombinant immunoblot assay. Among 97 patients with known HCV genotypes, 31 of 42 patients infected with type II and 24 of 55 infected with type I had antibodies against all four antigens (P < 0.01). In the type II-infected group, more patients had detectable antibodies to 5.11, C-33, and C-22 proteins than in the type I group (P < 0.05). No difference was found in the serological response to C-100 between the two groups.
PMCID: PMC262999  PMID: 7510309
10.  Hepatitis B virus genotype A rarely circulates as an HBe-minus mutant: possible contribution of a single nucleotide in the precore region. 
Journal of Virology  1993;67(9):5402-5410.
The emergence of HBe-minus hepatitis B virus (HBV) mutants, usually through a UAG nonsense mutation at codon 28 of the precore region, helps the virus to survive the anti-HBe immune response of the host. Host and viral factors that predispose to the emergence of such mutants are not well characterized. The fact that the precore region forms a hairpin structure essential for the packaging of viral pregenomic RNA may explain the extremely high prevalence of the UAG mutation at codon 28. It converts a wobble U-G pair in the packaging signal between nucleotide 3 of codon 15 (CCU) and nucleotide 2 of codon 28 (UGG) into a U-A pair. Since genotype A of HBV has a CCC sequence at codon 15, the UAG mutation would, instead, disrupt a C-G pair present in the wild-type virus. This alteration was shown by transfection experiments to greatly compromise the packaging of pregenomic RNA. The implication of this finding was elucidated by molecular epidemiological studies. Genotype A was found to be the most prevalent genotype in the wild-type virus populations in France but was found in only 1 of the 46 isolates of HBe-minus mutants found there. These mutants were contributed chiefly by genotype D, the second most prevalent genotype in France, which is characterized by a CCU sequence at codon 15. The role of the single nucleotide at codon 15 was confirmed by the finding of the single genotype A isolate in which both wild-type and mutant viruses were present. Interestingly, nearly all of the mutants had a codon 15 sequence of CCU instead of the CCC present in the wild-type viruses. Our results suggest that genotype A of HBV rarely circulates as HBe-minus mutants, probably because of a requirement for a simultaneous sequence change at codon 15. These data, together with the virtual absence of genotype A in the Chinese samples examined, may provide some insights into the uneven prevalence of HBe-minus mutants in the world.
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PMCID: PMC237941  PMID: 8350403
11.  Viral hepatitis management. Standards for the future. Case studies. 
Gut  1993;34(2 Suppl):S81-S86.
These four case studies were presented by Professor Sheila Sherlock to a panel of four expert hepatologists and a mixed audience of specialists. The response of the audience to a number of questions was monitored using an interactive key pad system. This response is presented in the form of bar graphs and is accompanied by comments from the expert panel.
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PMCID: PMC1374018  PMID: 7686124
12.  Diagnostic markers of viral hepatitis B and C. 
Gut  1993;34(2 Suppl):S20-S25.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) serology has become extremely refined. As well as the recognised hepatitis B surface (HBs), hepatitis B core (HBc), and hepatitis B e (HBe) antigen-antibody systems, new markers have been introduced including pre-S1, pre-S2 for the envelope and the functional X protein. New automates have been introduced allowing flexibility in the different tests according to precise needs. The monitoring of pre-S1 antigen provides a relevant correlate of viral replication. The quantitative determination of HBV-DNA, pre-S1 Ag, and IgM anti-HBc seem most useful for the decision to use, and the monitoring of, antiviral treatment. Second generation ELISAs detect antibodies to three sets of hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein including the c22 core, and c33, and c100, which correspond to the non-structural regions (NS3 and NS4, respectively). Second generation ELISAs require confirmation by supplement assays, but their biggest limitation is the delayed appearance of anti-HCV after primary infection. In addition 10% of chronic infections with liver disease still remain seronegative despite circulating HCV RNA in serum or liver, or both. Much progress still has to be made before HCV serology can reach the level of sophistication of HBV.
PMCID: PMC1373999  PMID: 8314489
13.  In vitro inhibition of hemopoietic cell line growth by hepatitis B virus. 
Journal of Virology  1990;64(6):2577-2581.
The effects of hepatitis B virus (HBV) on established human cell lines of various tissue origins were evaluated by clonal or colorimetric assays in methylcellulose culture. HBV exposure inhibited the growth of six hemopoietic cell lines, while similar incubation did not affect the growth of seven nonhemopoietic carcinoma cell lines of breast, colon, liver, and stomach origin. The inhibition of hemopoietic cell line colony formation was dependent on the presence of intact viral (Dane) particles and the ratio of exposure of virions to cells and was reversible with antibodies to pre-S1, pre-S2, and S envelope protein epitopes. Purified HBV DNA, surface antigen pre-S antigens, and core antigen did not inhibit cell line growth. These results further demonstrate the tropism of HBV for cells of hemopoietic origin, confirming our previous findings on the effects of HBV on the growth of normal bone marrow progenitor cells in vitro. Established human tissue culture cell lines may be used to study the interactions of hemopoietic cells with HBV.
PMCID: PMC249434  PMID: 2335813
14.  Virus-neutralizing monoclonal antibody to a conserved epitope on the duck hepatitis B virus pre-S protein. 
Journal of Virology  1990;64(3):1290-1297.
In this study we used duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV)-infected Pekin ducks and heron hepatitis B virus (HHBV)-infected heron tissue to search for epitopes responsible for virus neutralization on pre-S proteins. Monoclonal antibodies were produced by immunizing mice with purified DHBV particles. Of 10 anti-DHBV specific hybridomas obtained, 1 was selected for this study. This monoclonal antibody recognized in both DHBV-infected livers and viremic sera a major (36-kilodalton) protein and several minor pre-S proteins in all seven virus strains used. In contrast, pre-S proteins of HHBV-infected tissue or viremic sera did not react. Thus, the monoclonal antibody recognizes a highly conserved DHBV pre-S epitope. For mapping of the epitope, polypeptides from different regions of the DHBV pre-S/S gene were expressed in Escherichia coli and used as the substrate for immunoblotting. The epitope was delimited to a sequence of approximately 23 amino acids within the pre-S region, which is highly conserved in four cloned DHBV isolates and coincides with the main antigenic domain as predicted by computer algorithms. In in vitro neutralization assays performed with primary duck hepatocyte cultures, the antibody reduced DHBV infectivity by approximately 75%. These data demonstrate a conserved epitope of the DHBV pre-S protein which is located on the surface of the viral envelope and is recognized by virus-neutralizing antibodies.
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PMCID: PMC249246  PMID: 1689393
15.  Duck hepatitis B virus can tolerate insertion, deletion, and partial frameshift mutation in the distal pre-S region. 
Journal of Virology  1989;63(11):4965-4968.
In-frame and frameshift mutations were introduced into the pre-S region (1,212 base pairs) of duck hepatitis B virus. The in-frame mutants retained the inserted 12 nucleotides, while the frameshift mutants either reverted to wild type or exhibited a 10-nucleotide compensatory deletion downstream of the original mutation site. Thus, although duck hepatitis B virus has a compact and highly economical genome organization, it can replicate despite alterations of up to 9 amino acid codons in the pre-S and P open reading frames.
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PMCID: PMC251147  PMID: 2552178

Results 1-15 (15)