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Hepatology. 2011 Sep 2;54(3):808-19. doi: 10.1002/hep.24441. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

MicroRNAs-372/373 promote the expression of hepatitis B virus through the targeting of nuclear factor I/B.

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Medical Systems Biology Research Center, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tsinghua University School of Medicine, Beijing, China.


MicroRNAs (miRNAs) play important roles in the posttranscriptional regulation of gene expression. Recent evidence has indicated the pathological relevance of miRNA dysregulation in hepatitis virus infection; however, the roles of microRNAs in the regulation of hepatitis B virus (HBV) expression are still largely unknown. In this study we identified that miR-373 was up-regulated in HBV-infected liver tissues and that the members of the miRs-371-372-373 (miRs-371-3) gene cluster were also significantly co-up-regulated in HBV-producing HepG2.2.15 cells. A positive in vivo association was identified between hepatic HBV DNA levels and the copy number variation of the miRs-371-3 gene cluster. The enhanced expression of miRs-372/373 stimulated the production of HBV proteins and HBV core-associated DNA in HepG2 cells transfected with 1.3×HBV. Further, nuclear factor I/B (NFIB) was identified to be a direct functional target of miRs-372/373 by in silico algorithms and this was subsequently confirmed by western blotting and luciferase reporter assays. Knockdown of NFIB by small interfering RNA (siRNA) promoted HBV expression, whereas rescue of NFIB attenuated the stimulation in the 1.3×HBV-transfected HepG2 cells.


Our study revealed that miRNA (miRs-372/373) can promote HBV expression through a pathway involving the transcription factor (NFIB). This novel model provides new insights into the molecular basis in HBV and host interaction.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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