Cell culture systems for Hepatitis C and E Viruses

One of the main goal of our laboratory is to explore HCV Gt3 and Gt4 in vitro replication system. Bioselection is based on similar strategy as that of natural selection and evolution process; however, results can be achieved more quickly when combined with proposed, appropriate selection methods. We explore different directed evolution strategies to identify the strategy, or combination of strategies, most suitable for promoting and establishing a HCV Gt3 in vitro replication system.

Hepatitis E Virus (HEV) is an important cause of acute hepatitis in adults in developing countries. In the Indian subcontinent, the virulent genotype-1 strain was isolated from symptomatic, fulminant AVH cases. The high mortality rate of pregnant women with hepatitis E infection and lack of a vaccine against HEV underscores the need for additional basic research. Robust tissue culture systems to propagate HEV genotype-1 are known to be the main stay for better understanding of virus-host interactions, and help design genotype specific antiviral agents and evaluate antiviral efficacy. The inability to propagate HEV can be eliminated by several different approaches and we are exploring novel strategies to find one robust tissue culture system to propagate infectious HEV Gt-1 clones.

Host-virus interactions

The earliest theoretical evidence in support of RNA viruses existing as ‘clan’ of mutant genomes came from Eigen’s work to explain the self-organizational property and adaptability of early life forms on Earth. This self-replicating entity is represented by a ‘clan’ comprising of an ensemble of variant molecules instead of a single variant. An ensemble of variant genomes in virology is termed quasispecies. Our laboratory is attempting to analyze the transcriptome changes induced by quasispecies of Hepatitis E Virus and whether these changes has role in disease.

Graduate students:

Shubhra Agarwal
Shalini Soni
Deepak Singh