HCV is a positive, single-stranded RNA virus in the Flaviviridae family. The genome is approximately 10,000 nucleotides and encodes a single polyprotein of about 3,000 amino acids. The polyprotein is processed by host cell and viral proteases into three major structural proteins including NS3, and several non-structural proteins necessary for viral replication. The NS3 part of the polyprotein displays three enzymatic activities: serine protease, NTPase and RNA helicase. The NS3 serine proteinase (NS3P) is a non-structural hepatitis C protein responsible for proteolytic processing of other non-structural proteins; because of this, it is also the most extensively studied protein of the Hepatitis C genome. It is responsible for proteolytic processing of the entire downstream region of the HC polyprotein, catalyzing cleavage at the NS3/NS4a, NS4a/NS4b, NS4b/NS5a, and NS5a/NS5b sites to release the mature NS3, NS4a, NS4b, NS5a, and NS5b proteins.For proper function, NS3 requires NS4a as a cofactor, but, interestingly enough, NS3 also cleaves the NS4a protein.
References for Recombinant Hepatitis C Virus Hepatitis Virus Genotype 1b NS3 protein (ab67952)
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