Uptake of hepatitis C virus (HCV) into hepatocytes is an orchestrated process, involving numerous host factors, virion-associated lipoproteins, and a growing number of cell-associated factors. Several of these factors likely contribute to the hepatotropism and limited host range of this virus. Discerning the minimal set of human-specific factors required for viral uptake into nonhuman cells has facilitated the development of small animal models with inheritable HCV susceptibility. This review summarizes current knowledge of host factors required for HCV entry, the molecular mechanisms underlying HCV entry into hepatocytes, and aspects of viral entry contributing to HCV host tropism.
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