New video published: viral escape mechanism in HCV infection

22 June 2016

Shortly after viral infection, the infected cell presents viral peptides on its cell surface. This is how natural killer cells (NK cells) which belong to the innate defense mechanism of the human immune system recognize that the cell is invaded by a pathogen and eliminate it. Rapid elimination of target cells prevents that the virus can replicate and therefore increases in numbers by means of the replication apparatus of an intact host cell.

But how do viruses like the hepatitis C virus (HCV) cope with the situation? Do they have any mechanisms to escape from this early attack of the human immune system? In a recent publication CRC 841 scientists Dr. Sebastian Lunemann and Prof. Marcus Altfeld from the Heinrich Pette Institute (project A7 HCV infection: Mechanisms of NK-cell-mediated control) investigated the impact of HCV-derived peptides on NK cell function. More precisely, they identified several HLA-C*03:04-presented epitopes and demonstrated that one of these HCV-derived peptides can inhibit primary NK cell function through the engagement of an inhibitory NK cell receptor. Naturally occurring sequence mutations in the peptide alter these interactions making the inhibition less efficient. These data provided evidence for potential pathways for viral escape in HCV infection.

We invite you to take a look to our new publication video! First author Dr. Sebastian Lunemann explains in a brief and comprehensible way how the scientists tracked down the HCV arms race:

Video abstract english "Sequence variations in HCV core-derived epitopes...Videoarchiv

Video abstract english "Sequence variations in HCV core-derived epitopes... online seit 07.06.2016


Lunemann S, Martrus G, Hölzemer A, Chapel A, Ziegler M, Körner C, Beltran WG, Carrington M, Wedemeyer H, Altfeld M

Sequence variations in HCV core-derived epitopes alter binding of KIR2DL3 to HLA-C(∗)03:04 and modulate NK cell function
J Hepatol. 2016 Apr 4. pii: S0168-8278(16)30097-6. doi:10.1016/j.jhep.2016.03.016. [Epub ahead of print]

Further reading:

Please find more information about CRC project A7 “HCV infection: Mechanisms of NK-cell-mediated control”, headed by Prof. Marcus Altfeld, here.