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J Hepatol. 2002 Dec;37(6):855-62.

Suppression of hepatitis B virus enhancer 1 and 2 by hepatitis C virus core protein.

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  • 1Institut für Medizinische Virologie Justus-Liebig-Universität, Frankfurter Strasse 107, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.

Abstract

BACKGROUND/AIMS:

Epidemiological studies have shown that coinfection or superinfection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) and C virus (HCV) frequently leads to the suppression of hepatitis B virus replication. The mechanism of this phenomenon is still unclear. Shih et al. [J Virol 1993;67:5823] reported a direct suppression of HBV replication by the core protein of HCV. The target structure of HCV core protein in this system remained unclear.

METHODS:

As HCV core protein has been shown to influence expression from transcriptional elements, we studied whether HCV core protein altered the activity of the two HBV enhancers 1 and 2. Luciferase vectors for HBV enhancers 1 or 2 were cotransfected with expression constructs for HCV core protein in murine and human hepatocyte lines.

RESULTS:

Full-length HCV core protein suppressed the HBV enhancer 1 up to 11-fold, the enhancer 2 3-4-fold. Suppression of HBV enhancer 1 by HCV core from genotype 1b was stronger than by HCV core of genotypes 3a or 1a. Carboxyterminally truncated core proteins had lower or no suppression activity.

CONCLUSIONS:

These data suggest that HCV core protein may directly repress transcription of the HBV RNAs. This trans-repression may contribute to suppression of HBV replication in patients coinfected with both viruses.

PMID:
12445429
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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