Changes to the host cell proteome induced by expression of hepatitis C virus NS3/4A open reading frames
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects an estimated 200,000 people in Canada, and is the leading cause of liver transplants in North America. Viral infection usually leads to chronic infection, and complications include liver fibrosis, steatosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The HCV non-structural proteins 3 and 4A (NS3/4A), is a multifunctional protein complex with roles in RNA replication and polyprotein processing. Additionally, the NS3 protease has been shown to induce advanced cellular transformation in vivo and tumour formation in nude mice. However, the mechanism by which transformation occurs remains unknown. The objective of this study was to determine if the naturally occurring NS3/4A protein complex, rather than the NS3 protease domain on its own, could also induce cellular transformation and to determine the changes that NS3/4A expression had on the host cell proteome.