Developing antiviral drugs, vaccines and diagnostic markers is still the most ambitious challenge in clinical virology. In the past few decades, data from high-throughput technologies have allowed for the rapid development of new antiviral therapeutic strategies, thus making a profound impact on translational research. Most of the current preclinical studies in virology are aimed at evaluating the dynamic composition and localization of the protein platforms involved in various host-virus interactions. Among the different possible approaches, mass spectrometry-based proteomics is increasingly being used to define the protein composition in subcellular compartments, quantify differential protein expression among samples, characterize protein complexes, and analyse protein post-translational modifications. Here, we review the current knowledge of the most useful proteomic approaches in the study of viral persistence and pathogenicity, with a particular focus on recent advances in hepatitis C research.