Hepatitis B virus X protein is essential to initiate and maintain virus replication after infection.
ABSTRACT The molecular biology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been extensively studied but the exact role of the hepatitis B X protein (HBx) in the context of natural HBV infections remains unknown.
Primary human hepatocytes and differentiated HepaRG cells allowing conditional trans complementation of HBx were infected with wild type (HBV(wt)) or HBx deficient (HBV(x-)) HBV particles and establishment of HBV replication was followed.
We observed that cells inoculated with HBx-deficient HBV particles (HBV(x-)) did not lead to productive HBV infection contrary to cells inoculated with wild type HBV particles (HBV(wt)). Although equal amounts of nuclear covalently closed circular HBV-DNA (cccDNA) demonstrated comparable uptake and nuclear import, active transcription was only observed from HBV(wt) genomes. Trans-complementation of HBx was able to rescue transcription from the HBV(x-) genome and led to antigen and virion secretion, even weeks after infection. Constant expression of HBx was necessary to maintain HBV antigen expression and replication. Finally, we demonstrated that HBx is not packaged into virions during assembly but is expressed after infection within the new host cell to allow epigenetic control of HBV transcription from cccDNA.
Our results demonstrate that HBx is required to initiate and maintain HBV replication and highlight HBx as the key regulator during the natural infection process.
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ABSTRACT: The hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes acute and chronic hepatitis, and the latter is a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HBV encodes a 17-kDa regulatory protein, HBx, which is required for virus replication. Although the precise contribution(s) of HBx to virus replication is unknown, many viruses target cellular pathways to create an environment favorable for virus replication. The ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) is a major conserved cellular pathway that controls several critical processes in the cell by regulating the levels of proteins involved in cell cycle, DNA repair, innate immunity, and other processes. We summarize here the interactions of HBx with components of the UPS, including the CUL4 adaptor DDB1, the cullin regulatory complex CSN, and the 26S proteasome. Understanding how these protein interactions benefit virus replication remains a challenge due to limited models in which to study HBV replication. However, studies from other viral systems that similarly target the UPS provide insight into possible strategies used by HBV.Viruses. 01/2014; 6(11):4683-4702.
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ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus infection (HBV) is a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV replicates from a covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) that remains as an episome within the nucleus of infected cells and serves as a template for the transcription of HBV RNAs. The regulatory protein HBx has been shown to be essential for cccDNA transcription in the context of infection. Here we identified Spindlin1, a cellular Tudor-domain protein, as an HBx interacting partner. We further demonstrated that Spindlin1 is recruited to the cccDNA and inhibits its transcription in the context of infection. Spindlin1 knockdown induced an increase in HBV transcription and in histone H4K4 trimethylation at the cccDNA, suggesting that Spindlin1 impacts on epigenetic regulation. Spindlin1-induced transcriptional inhibition was greater for the HBV virus deficient for the expression of HBx than for the HBV WT virus, suggesting that HBx counteracts Spindlin1 repression. Importantly, we showed that the repressive role of Spindlin1 is not limited to HBV transcription but also extends to other DNA virus that replicate within the nucleus such as Herpes Simplex Virus type 1 (HSV-1). Taken together our results identify Spindlin1 as a critical component of the intrinsic antiviral defense and shed new light on the function of HBx in HBV infection.PLoS Pathogens 09/2014; · 8.14 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Chronic active hepatitis (CAH) is acknowledged as an imperative risk factor for the development of liver injury and hepatocellular carcinoma. The histological end points of CAH are chronic inflammation, fibrosis and cirrhosis which are coupled with increased DNA synthesis in cirrhotic vs healthy normal livers. The potential mechanism involved in CAH includes a combination of processes leading to liver cell necrosis, inflammation and cytokine production and liver scaring (fibrosis). The severity of liver damage is regulated by Hepatitis B virus genotypes and viral components. The viral and cellular factors that contribute to liver injury and discussed in this article. Liver injury caused by the viral infection affects many cellular processes such as cell signaling, apoptosis, transcription, DNA repair which in turn induce radical effects on cell survival, growth, transformation and maintenance. The consequence of such perturbations is resulted in the alteration of bile secretion, gluconeogenesis, glycolysis, detoxification and metabolism of carbohydrates, proteins, fat and balance of nutrients. The identification and elucidation of the molecular pathways perturbed by the viral proteins are important in order to design effective strategy to minimize and/or restore the hepatocytes injury.World Journal of Gastroenterology 09/2014; · 2.55 Impact Factor