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ABSTRACT: The X protein (HBx) of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is involved in the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), and methionine adenosyltransferase 2A (MAT2A) promotes the growth of liver cancer cells through altering S-adenosylmethionine homeostasis. Thus, we speculated that a link between HBx and MAT2A may contribute to HCC development. In this study, the effects of HBx on MAT2A expression and cell apoptosis were investigated, and the molecular mechanism by which HBx and MAT2A regulate tumorigenesis was evaluated. Results from immunohistochemistry analyses of 37 pairs of HBV-associated liver cancer tissues/corresponding peritumor tissues showed that HBx and MAT2A are highly expressed in most liver tumor tissues. Our in vitro results revealed that HBx activates MAT2A expression in a dose-dependent manner in hepatoma cells, and such regulation requires the cis-regulatory elements NF-κB and CREB on the MAT2A gene promoter. Electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) and chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) further demonstrated that HBx facilitates the binding of NF-κB and CREB to MAT2A gene promoter. In addition, overexpression of HBx or MAT2A inhibits cell apoptosis, whereas knockdown of MAT2A expression stimulates apoptosis in hepatoma cells. Furthermore, we demonstrated that HBx reduces MAT1A expression and AdoMet production but enhances MAT2β expression. Thus, we proposed that HBx activates MAT2A expression through NF-κB and CREB signaling pathways to reduce AdoMet production, inhibit hepatoma cell apoptosis, and perhaps enhance HCC development. These findings should provide new insights into our understanding how the molecular mechanisms underline the effects of HBV infection on the production of MAT2A and the development of HCC.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 05/2011; 286(19):17168-80. · 4.60 Impact Factor