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J Biol Chem. 2001 May 11;276(19):16399-405. Epub 2001 Feb 5.

Hepatitis C virus core protein activates nuclear factor kappa B-dependent signaling through tumor necrosis factor receptor-associated factor.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Faculty of Medicine, University of Tokyo, Tokyo 113-8655, Japan.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein, a viral nucleocapsid, has been shown to affect various intracellular events including the nuclear factor kappaB (NF-kappaB) signaling supposedly associated with inflammatory response, cell proliferation, and apoptosis. In order to elucidate the effect of HCV core protein on the NF-kappaB signaling in HeLa and HepG2 cells, a reporter assay was utilized. HCV core protein significantly activated NF-kappaB signaling in a dose-dependent manner not only in HeLa and HepG2 cells transiently transfected with core protein expression plasmid, but also in HeLa cells induced to express core protein under the control of doxycycline. HCV core protein increased the DNA binding affinity of NF-kappaB in the electrophoretic mobility shift assay. Acetyl salicylic acid, an IKKbeta-specific inhibitor, and dominant negative form of IKKbeta significantly blocked NF-kappaB activation by HCV core protein, suggesting HCV core protein activates the NF-kappaB pathway mainly through IKKbeta. Moreover, the dominant negative forms of TRAF2/6 significantly blocked activation of the pathway by HCV core protein, suggesting HCV core protein mimics proinflammatory cytokine activation of the NF-kappaB pathway through TRAF2/6. In fact, HCV core protein activated interleukin-1beta promoter mainly through NF-kappaB pathway. Therefore, this function of HCV core protein may play an important role in the inflammatory reaction induced by this hepatotropic virus.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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