Models that allow dissection of the interplay between viral infection and host genetics are limited. Such models are becoming increasingly important to follow up the results of genome-wide association studies (GWAS) that implicate specific genes in conferring increased susceptibility or resistance to infections. Schwartz, Trehan et al. now report a system using human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) that will help to address this issue. iPSCs, which have the potential to differentiate into any cell type, have been used to investigate the aetiology of several other diseases, but they have not yet been applied to study infections. Here, the authors differentiated human iPSCs into hepatocyte-like cells (iHLCs) and infected them with hepatitis C virus (HCV). They show that, similar to primary human hepatocytes, iHLCs support the entire HCV life cycle. They express the host factors necessary for HCV entry, produce live virus capable of infecting other cells and mount an antiviral response. These data introduce iHLCs as a new tool for studying virus-host interactions, expanding the currently limited systems that are available for studying HCV infection.

R. E.
T. P.
S. A.
C. M.
S. N.
Modeling hepatitis C virus infection using human induced pluripotent stem cells
Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA
[Epub ahead of print] doi: .

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