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Viruses 2016, 8(1), 21;

Advances and Challenges in Studying Hepatitis B Virus In Vitro

The Liver Institute, Rabin Medical Center Beilinson Hospital, Petah-Tikva, Israel
Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Tel-Aviv University, Tel-Aviv, Israel
Department of Medicine D, Rabin Medical Center Beilinson Hospital, Petah-Tikva, Israel
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Alexander Ploss
Received: 20 October 2015 / Revised: 30 November 2015 / Accepted: 6 January 2016 / Published: 14 January 2016
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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a small DNA virus that infects the liver. Current anti-HBV drugs efficiently suppress viral replication but do not eradicate the virus due to the persistence of its episomal DNA. Efforts to develop reliable in vitro systems to model HBV infection, an imperative tool for studying HBV biology and its interactions with the host, have been hampered by major limitations at the level of the virus, the host and infection readouts. This review summarizes major milestones in the development of in vitro systems to study HBV. Recent advances in our understanding of HBV biology, such as the discovery of the bile-acid pump sodium-taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide (NTCP) as a receptor for HBV, enabled the establishment of NTCP expressing hepatoma cell lines permissive for HBV infection. Furthermore, advanced tissue engineering techniques facilitate now the establishment of HBV infection systems based on primary human hepatocytes that maintain their phenotype and permissiveness for infection over time. The ability to differentiate inducible pluripotent stem cells into hepatocyte-like cells opens the door for studying HBV in a more isogenic background, as well. Thus, the recent advances in in vitro models for HBV infection holds promise for a better understanding of virus-host interactions and for future development of more definitive anti-viral drugs. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatocye-like cells; virus-host interactions; primary human hepatocytes hepatocye-like cells; virus-host interactions; primary human hepatocytes
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Witt-Kehati, D.; Bitton Alaluf, M.; Shlomai, A. Advances and Challenges in Studying Hepatitis B Virus In Vitro. Viruses 2016, 8, 21.

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