Chronic hepatitis B infection (HBV) is major cause of morbidity and mortality throughout the world. Currently there is limited understanding on the cellular proteins and related molecules involved in the critical steps of viral entry into the cytoplasm and persistent viral replication in cell culture. In order to address these fundamental questions, we designed and implemented a new model of hepatitis B: infectious transgenic hepatitis B virus composed of a complete virus plus a foreign gene. The foreign gene allows identification of cells that are infected by the transgenic virus. The transgenic virus was used in a functional assay to identify cellular proteins necessary for viral replication. This assay repeatedly identified the protein UQCR10. After restoring UQCR10 levels in HepG2 and Huh7 cells, they can be infected by intact virions of transgenic hepatitis B. These results demonstrate the usefulness of this new transgenic hepatitis B model.
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