Author(s): Twu JS, Lai MY, Chen DS, Robinson WS
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Abstract A specific viral oncogenic mechanism has not been shown for hepatitis B virus (HBV), although persistent HBV infection has been strongly associated with the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Most HCCs in HBV carriers contain integrated viral sequences in host DNA and this raises the question of whether such integrations ever contribute to oncogenesis. HBV does contain a gene (designated the hbx gene) which encodes a transcriptional trans-activator protein capable of activating homologous and heterologous regulatory sequences. Hbx has been detected in some human HCC with HBV integrations and the expressed hbx protein appears to have transcriptional transactivating activity. These findings raise the possibility that hbx expression could contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis by activating cellular genes that could contribute to oncogenicity. The possibility that the hbx protein may activate certain protooncogenes was investigated and we found that hbx can activate the protooncogene c-jun promoter. c-Jun was found to be expressed at a very low level in normal liver tissue but at high levels in HCCs of HBV-infected patients.
This article was published in Virology
and referenced in Journal of Cancer Science & Therapy