The lack of efficient systems for the propagation of the hepatitis C virus in vitro, in the past decade, led to the development of several heterologous expression systems for the study of the HCV proteins and the HCV life cycle. HSV- 1 amplicon vectors encoding the HCV structural and some of the non structural proteins were generated initially for the expression of high levels of these proteins into mammalian cells. The recent developments in the production of amplicon vectors, allowing the elimination of the contaminating helper HSV-1 virus have given a novel impulse in the study of these vectors as possible vaccine candidates. In this review, an extensive list of the existing amplicon vectors expressing HCV proteins is provided, together with a brief overview of the results obtained by these studies.
Keywords: HCV core protein, NS3/4A, CE1E2p7, viral replication complex, naked core particles
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