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Gene. 2001 Sep 5;275(1):163-8.

Transcriptional repression of p21(waf1) promoter by hepatitis B virus X protein via a p53-independent pathway.

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Department of Microbiology, College of Natural Sciences, Pusan National University, Pusan 609-735, South Korea.


The X-gene product of hepatitis B virus (HBx) has been implicated in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-mediated hepatocellular carcinoma through its ability to induce liver cancer in some transgenic mice and to transactivate a variety of viral and cellular promoters. In this study, we demonstrated that the level of p21(waf1) RNA was decreased in the HBx-expressing cells and this effect was due to the transcriptional repression of the p21(waf1) gene by HBx via a p53-independent pathway. As the Sp1 binding sites of the p21(waf1) promoter were sufficient to confer HBx responsiveness to a previously non-responsive promoter, we suggested that HBx represses the transcription of p21(waf1) by downregulating the activity of Sp1. Because the tumor repressor p21(waf1) protein is a universal inhibitor of cyclin-CDK complexes and DNA replication that induces cell cycle arrest at the G1-S checkpoint, the repression of p21(waf1) by HBx might play an important role in a HBV-mediated pathogenesis.

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