To establish a cell line as a model system for HCV infection and propagationin vitro, a human HepG2 cell line was incubated with a HCV RNA positive serum. The sABC immunological techniques and gold-labeled colloid electron microscopy method were employed to examine the viral proteins in those cells. The HCV non-structure 5 antigen was first detected in the HepG2 cells 72 h after incubation. The antigen was continuously observed in the cytoplasm as well on the membrane of the HepG2 cells even after 1, 2, 3 and 4 weeks after incubation. The observation of HCV non-structure 5 antigen continuously expressed in the HepG2 cells strongly indicates that the cells may have been infected by HCV virus. Therefore, the HepG2 cell line may serve as a potential host for establishment of HCV infection and propagationin vitro.
hepatitis C virus infection antigen expression
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