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Sci Rep. 2016 May 23;6:26150. doi: 10.1038/srep26150.

Hepatitis B virus inhibits intrinsic RIG-I and RIG-G immune signaling via inducing miR146a.

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Institute of Immunopharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, Shandong University, China.
Collaborative Innovation Center for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, State Key Laboratory for Diagnosis and Treatment of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital, College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, Zhejiang 310003, China.
Institute of Immunology and The CAS Key Laboratory of Innate Immunity and Chronic Disease, School of Life Sciences and Medical Center, University of Science and Technology of China, Hefei, Anhui 230027, China.


Previous studies showed that hepatitis B virus (HBV), as a latency invader, attenuated host anti-viral immune responses. miRNAs were shown to be involved in HBV infection and HBV-related diseases, however, the precise role of miRNAs in HBV-mediated immunosuppression remains unclear. Here, we observed that down-regulated RIG-I like receptors might be one critical mechanism of HBV-induced suppression of type I IFN transcription in both HBV(+) hepatoma cell lines and liver cancer tissues. Then, miR146a was demonstrated to negatively regulate the expression of RIG-I-like receptors by directly targeting both RIG-I and RIG-G. Further investigation showed that antagonizing miR146a by anti-sense inhibitors or sponge approach accelerated HBV clearance and reduced HBV load both in vitro and in a HBV-carrying mouse model. Therefore, our findings indicated that HBV-induced miR146a attenuates cell-intrinsic anti-viral innate immunity through targeting RIG-I and RIG-G, and silencing miR146a might be an effective target to reverse HBV-induced immune suppression.

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