Barriers to hepatitis C virus infection in mice.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is unable to infect mice, a fact that has severely limited their use as small-animal models for HCV pathogenesis and as tools for HCV vaccine development. HCV is blocked at various stages of its life cycle in mouse cells, due to incompatibility with host factors, the presence of dominant restriction factors, and effective immune responses. Molecular mechanisms for several such blocks have been characterized. The stepwise understanding of these limitations in mice will enable the development of an immunocompetent mouse that can fully support HCV infection and exhibit disease similar to that of infected humans.