While the life cycles of hepatitis viruses (A, B, C, D, and E) have been modestly characterized, recent intensive studies have provided new insights. Because these viruses “hijack” the membrane trafficking of the host cell machinery during replicative propagation, it is essential to determine and understand these specific cellular pathways. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus are well known as leading causes of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. While substantial inroads toward treating hepatitis C virus patients have recently been made, patients with HBV continue to require lifelong treatment, which makes a thorough understanding of the HBV life cycle essential. Importantly, these viruses have been observed to “hijack” the secretory and endocytic membrane trafficking machineries of the hepatocyte. These can include the canonical clathrin-mediated endocytic process that internalizes virus through cell surface receptors. While these receptors are encoded by the host genome for normal hepatocellular functions, they also exhibit virus-specific recognition. Further, functions provided by the multivesicular body, which include endosomal sorting complexes required for transport, are now known to envelope a variety of different hepatitis viruses. In this review, we summarize the recent findings regarding the cellular membrane trafficking machineries used by HBV in the context of other hepatitis viruses. (Hepatology 2018; 00:000-000).
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