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Localizing the formation and intracellular traffic of the hepatitis B virus in hepatocytes.

Localizing the formation and intracellular traffic of the hepatitis B virus in hepatocytes.
24 January 2023

One of the FéRI research teams entitled MAVIVH – Inserm U1259 and located at the Faculty of Medicine of Tours has obtained an ANRS research project. A three-year post-doctoral internship is open under the responsibility of Dr Hugues de Rocquigny.

The aim of this project is to describe the morphogenesis of HBV by distinguishing the formation of infectious DNA-virons from other viral particles. Indeed, infected cells have the particularity of producing a very large quantity of non-infectious subviral particles (PSV) consisting solely of envelope proteins or empty capsids proteins. We recently characterized the first step of this morphogenesis by describing the formation of viral capsids and their recruitment by envelope proteins in cellular domains rich in membranes.

Future steps are:

1- identifying these cellular domains harboring the initiation of morphogenesis,

2- comparing the assembly and trafficking of empty virions and DNA-virions. This work will be carried out thanks to plasmids which express, in hepatocyte cells, in a sequential or combined manner, all the viral actors involved in the assembly of virions. In addition to biochemical and optical microscopy methods, the only method with nanometric resolution is electron microscopy which, thanks to the laboratory's expertise, will unambiguously image and identify the different types of viral particles.

These experimental approaches and the results obtained will find a direct application in the description of the mechanism of action of HBV inhibitors.