Faculté de pharmacie, SeRAIC (Signalisation et réponses aux agents infectieux et chimiques) EA-4427, 2, avenue du Professeur-Léon-Bernard, CS 34317, 35043 Rennes, France, Irset (Institut de recherche en santé, environnement et travail), IFR 140, Génomique fonctionnelle agronomie et santé, Université de Rennes-I, Rennes, France
The hepatitis B virus (HBV) is an extremely contagious human pathogen responsible for severe hepatic diseases like cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma. It belongs to the Hepadnaviridae family whose members infect different animal species and are responsible for the development of acute and chronic hepatitis. Even though our knowledge about the molecular biology of these viruses has improved in the last two decades, the entry process of HBV into hepatocytes is still enigmatic. Indeed, the mechanisms that allow viral attachment at the plasma membrane and nucleocapsid release into the cytoplasm of target cells are still unknown. Then, the objective of this review is to focus on breakthroughs that have been made to unravel HBV entry. It will detail advances made on virus adsorption at the cell surface, virus internalization, nucleocapsid release to the cytoplasm and transport to the nucleus of infected cells.