alexa Cellular response to conditional expression of the hepatitis B virus precore and core proteins in cultured hepatoma (Huh-7) cells.


Research & Reviews: Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

Author(s): Locarnini S

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BACKGROUND: The expression of the hepatitis Be antigen (HBeAg) is one of several strategies used by hepatitis B virus (HBV) to ensure persistence. The HBeAg may function as a toleragen in utero and has been shown to regulate the host's immune response. AIM: The aim of this study was to examine the effect of the HBV precore and core protein on cellular gene expression in the hepatoma cell line Huh-7. STUDY DESIGN: Huh-7 cells with tight regulated expression of the HBV core or precore protein were produced using the Tet-Off tetracycline gene expression system. Changes in cellular gene expression in response to core/precore expression compared to Huh-7 cells not expressing the proteins were determined using a commercial high-density oligonucleotide array (Affymetrix Hu95A GeneChip) containing probes for 12,626 full-length human genes. RESULTS: Analysis of differential mRNA gene expression profiles at 7 days post precore and core expression revealed 45 and 5 genes, respectively, with mRNA changes greater than three-fold. The most striking feature was in Huh-7 cells expressing the precore protein in which 43/45 genes were downregulated 3-11-fold. These included genes that encoded products that regulate transcription/DNA binding proteins, cell surface receptors, cell-cycle/nucleic acid biosynthesis and intracellular signalling and trafficking. The only known gene, which was upregulated encoded a cytoskeletal protein. For the core cell line, 4/5 genes were downregulated 3-15-fold upon core induction and included genes that encoded products that affect intermediary metabolism, cell surface receptors and intracellular signalling. The one gene, which was upregulated was a cytokine gene. CONCLUSION: The results of this study show that HBV precore protein has a much greater effect on cellular gene expression in comparison to the core protein, suggesting that core and precore proteins may have diverse effects on cellular functions and equally different roles in modulating HBV pathogenesis.

This article was published in J Clin Virol. and referenced in Research & Reviews: Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology

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