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Virol J. 2011 Sep 8;8:431. doi: 10.1186/1743-422X-8-431.

Identification of ionotrophic purinergic receptors in Huh-7 cells and their response towards structural proteins of HCV genotype 3a.

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National Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of the Punjab, Lahore, Pakistan.


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major health problem in developing countries including Pakistan. Chronic HCV infection results in progressive liver disease including fibrosis, cirrhosis, insulin resistance and eventually hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Ionotrophic purinergic (P2X) receptors are identified to involve in a spectrum of physiological and pathophysiological processes. However, the role of P2X receptors in HCV liver associated diseases still remains to be investigated. The current study was designed to identify the presence of P2X receptors in human liver cells. Furthermore, it investigates the response of P2X receptors towards HCV structural proteins (E1E2). To determine that how many isoforms of P2X receptors are expressed in human liver cells, human hepatoma cell line (Huh-7) was used. Transcripts (mRNA) of five different isoforms of P2X receptors were identified in Huh-7 cells. To examine the gene expression of identified isoforms of P2X receptors in presence of HCV structural proteins E1E2, Huh-7/E1E2 cell line (stably expressing HCV structural proteins E1E2) was used. The results showed significant increase (6.2 fold) in gene expression of P2X4 receptors in Huh-7/E1E2 cells as compared to control Huh-7 cells. The findings of present study confirmed the presence of transcripts of five different isoforms of P2X receptors in human liver cells and suggest that P2X4 receptors could be represented an important component of the purinergic signaling complex in HCV induced liver pathogenesis.

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