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PLOS ONE  2012 

Purinergic Receptor Functionality Is Necessary for Infection of Human Hepatocytes by Hepatitis Delta Virus and Hepatitis B Virus

DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0015784

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Abstract:

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) are major sources of acute and chronic hepatitis. HDV requires the envelope proteins of HBV for the processes of assembly and infection of new cells. Both viruses are able to infect hepatocytes though previous studies have failed to determine the mechanism of entry into such cells. This study began with evidence that suramin, a symmetrical hexasulfated napthylurea, could block HDV entry into primary human hepatocytes (PHH) and was then extrapolated to incorporate findings of others that suramin is one of many compounds that can block activation of purinergic receptors. Thus other inhibitors, pyridoxal-phosphate-6-azophenyl-2′,4′-di?sulfonate(PPADS) and brilliant blue G (BBG), both structurally unrelated to suramin, were tested and found to inhibit HDV and HBV infections of PHH. BBG, unlike suramin and PPADS, is known to be more specific for just one purinergic receptor, P2X7. These studies provide the first evidence that purinergic receptor functionality is necessary for virus entry. Furthermore, since P2X7 activation is known to be a major component of inflammatory responses, it is proposed that HDV and HBV attachment to susceptible cells, might also contribute to inflammation in the liver, that is, hepatitis.

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