Turkish Journal of Biology




The hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Infection with HCV becomes chronic in more than 80% of cases and it accounts for 20% of all cases of acute hepatitis. The hepatitis C virus was first identified by the molecular cloning of the virus genome in 1989. It is an enveloped, positive strand RNA virus with a genome size of around 9.5 kilobases. The single-stranded RNA genome of the virus contains a large open reading frame that encodes a large polyprotein of 3,010 to 3,033 amino acids shown to be processed by a combination of host and viral proteinases to produce at least ten proteins post-translationally. The proteins that are closer to the amino terminal of the polyprotein are termed structural and the rest, closer to the carboxy terminal, are called nonstructural (NS) proteins.

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