High density Huh7.5 cell hollow fiber bioreactor culture for high-yield production of hepatitis C virus and studies of antivirals

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Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection poses a serious global public health burden. Despite the recent development of effective treatments there is a large unmet need for a prophylactic vaccine. Further, antiviral resistance might compromise treatment efficiency in the future. HCV cell culture systems are typically based on Huh7 and derived hepatoma cell lines cultured in monolayers. However, efficient high cell density culture systems for high-yield HCV production and studies of antivirals are lacking. We established a system based on Huh7.5 cells cultured in a hollow fiber bioreactor in the presence or absence of bovine serum. Using an adapted chimeric genotype 5a virus, we achieved peak HCV infectivity and RNA titers of 7.6 log10 FFU/mL and 10.4 log10 IU/mL, respectively. Bioreactor derived HCV showed high genetic stability, as well as buoyant density, sensitivity to neutralizing antibodies AR3A and AR4A, and dependency on HCV co-receptors CD81 and SR-BI comparable to that of HCV produced in monolayer cell cultures. Using the bioreactor platform, treatment with the NS5A inhibitor daclatasvir resulted in HCV escape mediated by the NS5A resistance substitution Y93H. In conclusion, we established an efficient high cell density HCV culture system with implications for studies of antivirals and vaccine development.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17505
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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