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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2006 Aug 11;346(4):1125-30. Epub 2006 May 26.

Suppressive effect on hepatocyte differentiation of hepatitis C virus core protein.

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Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Osaka University Graduate School of Medicine, Suita 565-0871, Japan.


The influence of hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein(s) on cellular differentiation remains to be clarified. Using murine normal liver epithelial cells, we investigated whether HCV core protein affects differentiation into hepatocytes. Mock and HCV core-expressing cells were stimulated with oncostatin M (OSM) and dexamethasone, and the degree of differentiation was evaluated by measuring the expression of albumin and tyrosine aminotransferase (TAT). Lower amounts after stimulation were found in HCV core-expressing cells than in mock cells. Phosphorylation of the signal transducer and activator transcription factor 3 (STAT3) was prevented by the HCV core under OSM stimulation. Reporter gene assay revealed that the HCV core/Janus kinase (JAK) interaction directly suppressed the OSM-dependent JAK-STAT signal transduction. Furthermore, expression of OSM receptor beta (OSMRbeta) after stimulation was prevented by the HCV core. In conclusion, the HCV core may suppress differentiation into hepatocytes via inhibition of the JAK-STAT pathway and OSMRbeta expression.

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