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Hepatitis C virus may need enzyme's help to cause liver disease
Date:7/9/2008

patitis C virus linked to an increase in fatty acids, Dr. Wang worked with Thomas Conrads, Ph.D., co-director of clinical proteomics at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, and colleagues on a mass spectrometry-based proteomics approach in which they measured protein expression from liver cell cultures exposed to the hepatitis C virus. The approach sorted proteins based on their weight and electrical charge, looking for divergent patterns linked to the virus. Of the 175 proteins they identified, only FAS was highly elevated in cell cultures. Furthermore, when they blocked the expression of FAS, they noted a three to four times decrease in the level of the virus, indicating that FAS is directly linked to the virus's expression.

"Viruses are very complex, so it is challenging to determine what proteins may be at play in their survival and growth," said Dr. Wang. "The proteomic approach we used revealed many proteins linked to hepatitis C that may be worthy of further study, but FAS appears to be the protein most strongly associated with the production of fatty acids that can cause liver disease."

"Our next step in this research is to see how high the level of FAS is in tissue samples from hepatitis C patients and determine whether elevated FAS levels directly result in overproduction of fat in livers. If we learn that FAS is highly present in tissue, testing for it may be a way to predict those at risk for liver disease."


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Contact: Clare Collins
CollCX@upmc.edu
412-647-3555
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Source:Eurekalert

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