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Front Biosci. 2008 May 1;13:5533-47.

Posttranscriptional control of HBV gene expression.

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  • 1Medical University of South Carolina, Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 173 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29425, USA.


Acute and chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the cause of about 1 million deaths each year worldwide. Although a vaccine for HBV is available, new HBV infections are appearing at alarming rates and maternal-fetal transmission is a major cause of viral spread. Thus, new and effective antiviral strategies are necessary for the 300 million chronically HBV-infected individuals to reduce their morbidity and mortality. Precise processing of viral RNAs is essential for the hepatitis viral life cycle, and, to our knowledge, the processing, nuclear export, and stabilization/degradation of viral RNAs are exclusively mediated by host factors. Thus, identification of host factors required for viral RNA metabolism and subsequent molecular analysis of the interactions between viral RNAs and corresponding host factors might represent novel avenues for the development of new antiviral strategies. In this review, we summarize the current knowledge about the posttranscriptional control of HBV RNA metabolism.

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