Étude structurale et fonctionnelle de la protéine Core du virus de l'hépatite C

Authors: Duvignaud, Jean-Baptiste
Advisor: Gagné, StéphaneLeclerc, Denis
Abstract: The hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major public health problem with more than 120 million infected people, and to date no efficient treatment is available. HCV was discovered in 1989, classified in the flaviviridae family, and is the only member of the hepacivirus genus. It is an enveloped virus, consisting in a lipid bilayer, a capsid, and a ribonucleic acid (RNA). The viral capsid is composed by only one protein called “Core” protein. It is a 177 amino acid long protein in its mature form. It was demonstrated in our laboratory that the first half of this protein (C82) was sufficient to generate, both in vivo and in vitro, the assembly of the viral capsid. In order to understand the mechanism controlling the capsid assembly, we have studied the structural aspect of this protein. After developing robust protocols of overexpression, isotope labelling and purification of the protein C82, we studied this truncated form using circular dichroism and nuclear magnetic resonance. The experimental data obtained suggest that Core C82 is an unstructured and very flexible protein, thus confirming primary sequence analysis and secondary structure predictions. We established that the N-terminal half of the Core protein is a member of the intrinsically unstructured protein family (IUP). IUPs are proteins which are totally or partially unstructured, but can sometimes undergo a structural change induced by the binding of a partner (protein, nucleic acid, small molecule). In order to induce a structured form of the C82 protein, we have tested a large range of conditions of salt, detergent, lipomimetic solvent, as well as interaction with a proteic partner (p53). Only the addition of a lipomimetic agent (2,2,2-trifluoroethanol, TFE) to the Core C82 protein resulted in a structural and a dynamical change. In this special condition, we were able to demonstrate that the Core C82 can adopt an α-helix conformation. We have, moreover, confirmed that this conformation was also present in longer truncated form of the Core protein (C124 and C170). We also, along its structural analysis, developed an in vitro test to inhibit the assembly of the Core protein. This tool allowed us to discover several small peptides derived from the HCV Core and NS5A proteins amino acid sequences, with an inhibitory effect on the viral assembly of the mature Core protein (C170). This innovative work is potentially an interesting step towards the development of an efficient treatment against HCV. Ultimately, even if the 3D structure of the mature Core protein remains unsolved, our structural study of the C82 truncated form is the most comprehensive study to date at an atomic resolution. Moreover, our preliminary works on the mature form of the Core protein (C170) are very promising and should eventually lead to the three dimensional structure.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2012
Open Access Date: 18 April 2018
Permalink: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11794/23364
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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