This article is about the viral particle. For the disease, see Hepatitis Hepatitis c virus infection pdf. Electron micrograph of hepatitis C virus purified from cell culture.
RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae. The hepatitis C virus belongs to the genus Hepacivirus, a member of the family Flaviviridae. Until recently it was considered to be the only member of this genus.
However a member of this genus has been discovered in dogs—canine hepacivirus. There is also at least one virus in this genus that infects horses.
Several additional viruses in the genus have been described in bats and rodents. Two viral envelope glycoproteins, E1 and E2, are embedded in the lipid envelope. Hepatitis C virus has a positive sense single-stranded RNA genome. The genome consists of a single open reading frame that is 9600 nucleotide bases long.
This single open reading frame is translated to produce a single protein product, which is then further processed to produce smaller active proteins. This is why on publicly available databases, such as the European Bioinformatic Institute, the viral proteome only consists of 2 proteins. At the 5′ and 3′ ends of the RNA are the UTR, that are not translated into proteins but are important to translation and replication of the viral RNA.