Real-time imaging of hepatitis C virus infection using a fluorescent cell-based reporter system

Christopher T. Jones, Maria Teresa Catanese, Lok Man J. Law, Salman R. Khetani, Andrew J. Syder, Alexander Ploss, Thomas S. Oh, John W. Schoggins, Margaret R. MacDonald, Sangeeta N. Bhatia, Charles M. Rice

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

217 Scopus citations


Hepatitis C virus (HCV), which infects 2-3% of the world population, is a causative agent of chronic hepatitis and the leading indication for liver transplantation. The ability to propagate HCV in cell culture (HCVcc) is a relatively recent breakthrough and a key tool in the quest for specific antiviral therapeutics. Monitoring HCV infection in culture generally involves bulk population assays, use of genetically modified viruses and/or terminal processing of potentially precious samples. Here we develop a cell-based fluorescent reporter system that allows sensitive distinction of individual HCV-infected cells in live or fixed samples. We demonstrate use of this technology for several previously intractable applications, including live-cell imaging of viral propagation and host response, as well as visualizing infection of primary hepatocyte cultures. Integration of this reporter with modern image-based analysis methods could open new doors for HCV research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)167-171
Number of pages5
JournalNature biotechnology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biotechnology
  • Biomedical Engineering


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