Virus Life Cycle
HDV enters into liver cells via the ‘sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide’ (NTCP) receptor (a protein on the surface of the liver cell that recognizes the virus and facilitates its movement into the cell). The envelope protein, HBsAg recognises the receptor and this causes internalisation. The mechanism of entry is similar to that of HBV. After entering the liver cell, the virus is uncoated and the nucleocapsid (genome and RNA associated proteins) is translocated to the nucleus. The virus then makes use of the host cellular RNA polymerases to replicate itself. The HDV genome also codes for HDAg. This protein is important for virus assembly. HDAg undergoes a modification known as prenylation that is vital for the assembly process.
Author: Minaam Abbas