Genetically engineered mice could boost fight against aggressive hepatitis

Written by
Catherine Zandonella, Office of the Dean for Research, Princeton University
June 29, 2018

After infection with HDV, the virus’s RNA (red) can be detected in the livers of genetically engineered mice expressing HBV proteins and human NTCP (left) but not in control mice (right). The liver cells’ nuclei are labeled blue. Credit: B.Y. Winer et al.

New research in Princeton’s Department of Molecular Biology could aid in the fight against an aggressive form of liver disease caused by hepatitis delta virus (HDV). The virus, which infects 20 million people worldwide, is linked to liver damage and cancer, but has been hard to study because mice are not susceptible to the virus. Researchers led by Alexander Ploss, assistant professor of molecular biology, developed a strain of mice that can acquire the virus and be of use in the testing of therapies. The study was published today in Science Translational Medicine.