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Viruses 2011, 3(10), 1909-1932; doi:10.3390/v3101909

The Hepatitis C Virus Glycan Shield and Evasion of the Humoral Immune Response

1,* , 1,2
1 Laboratory of Virology, EA4294, Jules Verne University of Picardie, Amiens 80000, France 2 Virology Department, Amiens University Hospital Center, South Hospital, Amiens 80000, France 3 Inserm U1019, CNRS UMR8204, Center for Infection and Immunity of Lille (CIIL), Institut Pasteur de Lille, Université Lille Nord de France, Lille 59021, France
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 July 2011 / Revised: 28 September 2011 / Accepted: 1 October 2011 / Published: 14 October 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Humoral Responses Against HCV)
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Despite the induction of effective immune responses, 80% of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected individuals progress from acute to chronic hepatitis. In contrast to the cellular immune response, the role of the humoral immune response in HCV clearance is still subject to debate. Indeed, HCV escapes neutralizing antibodies in chronically infected patients and reinfection has been described in human and chimpanzee. Studies of antibody-mediated HCV neutralization have long been hampered by the lack of cell-culture-derived virus and the absence of a small animal model. However, the development of surrogate models and recent progress in HCV propagation in vitro now enable robust neutralization assays to be performed. These advances are beginning to shed some light on the mechanisms of HCV neutralization. This review summarizes the current state of knowledge of the viral targets of anti-HCV-neutralizing antibodies and the mechanisms that enable HCV to evade the humoral immune response. The recent description of the HCV glycan shield that reduces the immunogenicity of envelope proteins and masks conserved neutralizing epitopes at their surface constitutes the major focus of this review.
Keywords: hepatitis C virus; neutralizing antibodies; viral escape; N-glycosylation hepatitis C virus; neutralizing antibodies; viral escape; N-glycosylation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY) which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Helle, F.; Duverlie, G.; Dubuisson, J. The Hepatitis C Virus Glycan Shield and Evasion of the Humoral Immune Response. Viruses 2011, 3, 1909-1932.

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