Journal List > J Bacteriol Virol > v.46(4) > 1034243

J Bacteriol Virol. 2016 Dec;46(4):335-342. Korean.
Published online December 31, 2016.
Copyright © 2016 The Korean Society for Microbiology and The Korean Society of Virology
The Role of Sodium-taurocholate Co-transporting Polypeptide as a Receptor during HBV Infection
So-Young Kim,1 Eungyeong Jang,2 and Kyung-Soo Inn1
1Department of Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.
2Department of Internal Medicine, College of Korean Medicine, Kyung Hee University, Seoul, Korea.

Corresponding author: Kyung-Soo Inn. Department of Pharmaceutical Science, College of Pharmacy, Kyung Hee University, 26 Kyungheedae-ro, Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul, 02447, Korea. Phone: +82-2-961-0368, Fax: +82-2-966-3885, Email:
Received December 07, 2016; Revised December 15, 2016; Accepted December 15, 2016.

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (


According to World Health Organization, more than 200 million people suffer with chronic hepatitis caused by Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection worldwide. Chronic hepatitis B causes various complications including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma and approximately 0.5~4.2 million deaths occur annually due to HBV infection. Current therapies such as antivirals and vaccine are often hampered by drug intolerance, side effects, and long-time medication, therefore, the development of powerful anti-HBV drugs is demanded. Recently, sodium taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide (NTCP) receptor was revealed to play a pivotal role in HBV entry into hepatocytes. Cell lines transfected with NTCP receptor enables to analyze HBV life cycle by inducing HBV infection stably, but in vivo models still have some limitations such as high costs, restrictive differentiation, and unveiled cofactors related to human NTCP. Therefore, it requires well-established in vivo models to develop and evaluate novel therapeutic agents targeting NTCP receptor, and viral entry inhibitors that inhibit the early step of viral infection are potent sufficient to substitute for existing antivirals.

Keywords: Hepatitis B virus; Receptor; Sodium-taurocholate co-transporting polypeptide; Entry


Figure 1
Structure of Hepatitis B virus. HBV consists of an outer envelope and inner nucleocapsid. The envelop contains HBsAg which comprises three proteins; the small (S), middle (S+preS2), large (S+preS2+preS1) surface protein. Among them, only the preS1 domain has an infectious capacity. The capsid encloses genomic DNA, DNA polymerase, HBeAg, and HBcAg.
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Figure 2
Hepatitis B virus S protein structure. (A) HBsAg consists of three surface proteins. The small S antigen has only S domain and the middle S antigen harbors preS2 and S domains. The large S antigen contains preS1, preS2, and S domains. (B) Schematic structure of preS1-S2 domains. preS1 domain amino acids 2-77 are necessary for viral infection. Among amino acid 2-48, amino acid 9-18 are essential binding sites of HBsAg for NTCP receptor of human hepatocyte, and amino acid 28-48 are accessory parts. Both preS1 and preS2 domains are important for virion formation.
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Figure 3
NTCP amino acid sequence homology between human and other species. (A) Identities and Homologies come from protein sequence Homo sapiens against Crab eating monkey, Rattus norvegicus and Mus musculus. (B) Schematic drawing of HBs domain of Homo sapiens, macaca fascicularis and mus musculus. Amino acid full sequence of Homo sapiens is in discord with that of macaca fascicularis and mus musculus. Amino acid 157-165 of macaca facicularis and amino acid 84-87 of mus musculus are different from Homo sapiens amino acids.
Click for larger image

Figure 4
Schematic representation of the hepatitis B virus attachment. Heparan sulfate proteoglycan (HSPG) and Glypican5 (GPC5) help pre-S1 domain of HBsAg attach to NTCP receptor expressed in the surface of human hepatocyte.
Click for larger image

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