Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is a multi-functional viral protein that interacts with several target proteins of both viral and cellular origin.
Aim and Methods: To gain insight into the mechanism of action of HCV core protein, we used a yeast two-hybrid system to identify the core protein-interacting cellular targets.
Results: A cDNA clone encoding an aspartoacylase was obtained, termed aspartoacylase 3 (ACY3). Interaction between ACY3 and HCV core protein was verified using a co-immunoprecipitation assay in vitro, and a mammalian two-hybrid system in vivo. Fluorescence microscopy showed green fluorescence protein-fused ACY3 localized in the cytoplasm.
Conclusion: Our data suggest that ACY3 is an HCV core binding protein, which may play a role in the development of HCV-associated diseases.