System-based proteomic analysis of infectious Hepatitis C virus: towards the development of host-based anti-HCV therapeutic strategies

More than 123 million people worldwide are infected with Hepatitis C virus (HCV), including approximately 250,000 Canadians. There is no vaccine for HCV, and current treatments are less than 50 per cent effective against the predominant HCV genotype in North America. Since the outcome of HCV infection can be so severe and prevalence is so high, a better therapy is urgently required. Developing an effective treatment for HCV calls for a more detailed understanding of host and viral factors that influence infectivity of the virus. Through her research of two cell lines infected with HCV, Andrea Olmstead aims to gain a clearer understanding of the relationship between HCV and human cells. Although these two cell lines are related, the rate at which HCV multiplies in each of them differs. By exploring the significance of different patterns of protein expression between the two cell lines, Andrea hopes to identify novel interactions between host cellular proteins and HCV virus proteins that contribute to the outcome of infection. By uncovering host/virus interactions, her research may reveal new inhibition targets for generating effective therapies against HCV.