66 research outputs found

    HCV Lymphotropism and Its Pathogenic Significance

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    Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is not only a hepatotropic but also a lymphotropic virus. Infection of the immune system appears to be a natural propensity of HCV and, as the accumulated data indicate, a common characteristic of both symptomatic and clinically silent but molecularly evident infection known as occult infection. The ability of HCV to infect cells of the immune system is consistent with a significantly greater prevalence of certain lymphoproliferative disorders in HCV-infected patients, such as mixed cryoglobulinemia and B-cell non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. This chapter recapitulates the approaches used to detect HCV and its replication within lymphoid cells, features of HCV compartmentalization in the lymphatic system and in different types of immune cells, and the cell culture models developed to study HCV lymphotropism. In addition, the characteristics of the molecules recently identified as those specifically mediating HCV entry leading to virus replication in B and T lymphocytes, which are distinct from those involved in virus entry to hepatocytes, are presented. Finally, the biological impact of HCV lymphotropism on the function of immune cells, virus persistence, and immune cell proliferation and lymphomagenesis is summarized

    Initial sites of hepadnavirus integration into host genome in human hepatocytes and in the woodchuck model of hepatitis B-associated hepatocellular carcinoma

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    Hepatitis B virus (HBV) and the closely related woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) are potent carcinogens that trigger development of primary hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The initial sites of hepadnavirus–host genome integration, their diversity and kinetics of formation can be central to virus persistence and the initiation and progression of HCC. To recognize the nature of the very early virus–host interactions, we explored de novo infection of human hepatocyte-like HepaRG cells with authentic HBV and naive woodchucks with WHV. HepaRG were analyzed from several minutes post exposure to HBV onwards, whereas woodchuck liver biopsies at 1 or 3 h and 6 weeks post infection with WHV. Inverse PCR and clonal sequencing of the amplicons were applied to identify virus–host genomic junctions. HBV and WHV DNA and their replication intermediates became detectable in one hour after virus exposure. Concomitantly, HBV DNA integration into various host genes was detected. Notably, junctions of HBV X gene with retrotransposon sequences, such as LINE1 and LINE2, became prominent shortly after infection. In woodchucks, insertion of WHV X and preS sequences into host genome was evident at 1 and 3 h post infection (h.p.i.), confirming that hepadnavirus under natural conditions integrates into hepatocyte DNA soon after invasion. The HBV and WHV X gene enhancer II/core promotor sequence most often formed initial junctions with host DNA. Moreover, multiple virus–virus DNA fusions appeared from 1 h.p.i. onwards in both infected hepatocytes and woodchuck livers. In summary, HBV DNA integrates almost immediately after infection with a variety of host’s sequences, among which tandemly repeating non-coding DNAs are common. This study revealed that HBV can engage mobile genetic elements from the beginning of infection to induce pro-oncogenic perturbations throughout the host genome. Such swift virus insertion was also evident in natural hepadnaviral infection in woodchucks

    Reactivation of hepatitis B after liver transplantation: Current knowledge, molecular mechanisms and implications in management

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    Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is a major global health problem affecting an estimated 350 million people with more than 786000 individuals dying annually due to complications, such as cirrhosis, liver failure and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Liver transplantation (LT) is considered gold standard for treatment of hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related liver failure and HCC. However, post-transplant viral reactivation can be detrimental to allograft function, leading to poor survival. Prophylaxis with high-dose hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) and anti-viral drugs have achieved remarkable progress in LT by suppressing viral replication and improving long-term survival. The combination of lamivudine (LAM) plus HBIG has been for many years the most widely used. However, life-long HBIG use is both cumbersome and costly, whereas long-term use of LAM results in resistant virus. Recently, in an effort to develop HBIG-free protocols, high potency nucleos(t)ide analogues, such as Entecavir or Tenofovir, have been tried either as monotherapy or in combination with low-dose HBIG with excellent results. Current focus is on novel antiviral targets, especially for covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), in an effort to eradicate HBV infection instead of viral suppression. However, there are several other molecular mechanisms through which HBV may reactivate and need equal attention. The purpose of this review is to address post-LT HBV reactivation, its risk factors, underlying molecular mechanisms, and recent advancements and future of anti-viral therapy

    Differential Expression of Woodchuck Toll-Like Receptors 1–10 in Distinct Forms of Infection and Stages of Hepatitis in Experimental Hepatitis B Virus Infection

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    Woodchucks infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) represent a highly valuable model of human hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, chronic hepatitis (CH), and virus induced-primary liver cancer. Toll-like receptors (TLRs) are important mediators of immune responses playing pivotal roles in the pathogenesis of viral diseases; however, their expression profiles in different forms of infection and stages of hepatitis, and in healthy animals remain essentially unknown. In this study, woodchuck TLRs 1–10 exon fragments were identified and TLR genes transcription quantified in livers, primary hepatocytes, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and in selected organs during experimental WHV infection. Among others, liver biopsies from acute hepatitis (AH) and CH showed significantly augmented expression of the majority of TLRs when compared to healthy and woodchucks prior to AH, with resolved AH or primary occult infection. In contrast to the liver tissue, significant upregulation of TLR3, TLR4, and TLR10, but downregulation of TLR7, characterized hepatocytes derived from livers of animals with resolved AH accompanied by secondary occult infection. Hepatocytes from CH showed significantly lower expression or a trend toward suppression of several TLRs when compared to hepatocytes from healthy animals and woodchucks with other forms of infection or hepatitis, suggesting that hepatocyte innate immune response is downregulated during CH. Contrastingly, upregulated transcription of some TLRs characterized PBMC throughout CH. Our study uncovered that TLR expression significantly varies between different forms of hepadnaviral infection and whether infection is accompanied or not by hepatitis. The results showed that the profiles of TLRs’ expression in circulating lymphomononuclear cells do not mirror accurately those of livers and hepatocytes from infected animals. These findings are of importance to the understanding of immune process operating at different sites targeted by virus in the course of hepadnaviral infection and evaluation of future therapies modifying antiviral innate responses in the woodchuck model

    Differential Expression of Candidate Virus Receptors in Human T Lymphocytes Prone or Resistant to Infection with Patient-Derived Hepatitis C Virus

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    Accumulated evidence implies that hepatitis C virus (HCV) infects not only the liver but also the immune system. A lymphocyte-specific CD5 molecule was recently identified as essential for infection of T cells with native, patient-derived HCV. To assess whether the proposed hepatocyte receptors may also contribute to HCV lymphotropism, expression of scavenger receptor-class B type 1 (SR-B1), claudin-1 (CLDN-1), claudin-6 (CLDN-6), occludin (OCLN), CD5 and CD81 was examined by real-time RT-PCR and the respective proteins quantified by immunoblotting in HCV-prone and resistant T cell lines, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), primary T cells and their subsets, and compared to hepatoma Huh7.5 and HepG2 cells. SR-B1 protein was found in T and hepatoma cell lines but not in PBMC or primary T lymphocytes, CLDN-1 in HCV-resistant PM1 T cell line and hepatoma cells only, while CLDN-6 equally in the cells investigated. OCLN protein occurred in HCV-susceptible Molt4 and Jurkat T cells and its traces in primary T cells, but not in PBMC. CD5 was displayed by HCVprone T cell lines, primary T cells and PBMC, but not by non-susceptible T and hepatoma cell lines, while CD81 in all cell types except HepG2. Knocking-down OCLN in virus-prone T cell line inhibited HCV infection, while de novo infection downregulated OCLN and CD81, and upregulated CD5 without modifying SR-B1 expression. Overall, while no association between SR-B1, CLDN-1 or CLDN-6 and the susceptibility to HCV was found, CD5 and CD81 expression coincided with virus lymphotropism and that of OCLN with permissiveness of T cell lines but unlikely primary T cells. This study narrowed the range of factors potentially utilized by HCV to infect T lymphocytes amongst those uncovered using laboratory HCV and Huh7.5 cells. Together with the demonstrated role for CD5 in HCV lymphotropism, the findings indicate that virus utilizes different molecules to enter hepatocytes and lymphocytes

    Inhibition by Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus of Class I Major Histocompatibility Complex Presentation on Hepatocytes Is Mediated by Virus Envelope Pre-S2 Protein and Can Be Reversed by Treatment with Gamma Interferon

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    Presentation of class I major histocompatibility complex (MHC) is severely down-regulated on hepatocytes in chronic hepatitis caused by woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). To determine which of the viral proteins mediates class I MHC antigen suppression, cultured normal woodchuck hepatocytes were transfected with the complete WHV genome, sequences encoding individual virus proteins, or whole virus genomes in which transcription of selected proteins was disabled by site-specific mutagenesis. It was found that hepatocyte presentation of class I MHC antigen was significantly inhibited following transfection with complete WHV genome or with viral subgenomic fragments encoding envelope pre-S2 protein or pre-S1 protein, which naturally encompasses pre-S2 amino acid sequence. In contrast, hepatocytes transfected with WHV X gene alone demonstrated a profound enhancement in the class I antigen display, whereas those expressing virus major S protein or nucleocapsid (core) protein were not different from control hepatocytes. Analysis of the mutated WHV sequences confirmed that the envelope pre-S2 protein was responsible for inhibition of the class I MHC antigen display. Interestingly, treatment with recombinant woodchuck gamma interferon (rwIFN-γ) restored the inhibited presentation of the class I antigen. Moreover, the class I antigen suppression was not associated with down-regulation of hepatocyte genes for class I MHC heavy chain, β(2)-microglobulin, transporters associated with antigen processing, and proteasome subunits. These findings indicate that the defective presentation of class I MHC antigen on hepatocytes transcribing WHV is a consequence of posttranscriptional suppression exerted by virus pre-S2 protein and that this hindrance can be fully reversed by IFN-γ

    Earliest hepatitis B virus-hepatocyte genome integration: sites, mechanism, and significance in carcinogenesis

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    Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the fifth most widespread cancer responsible for one fourth of cancer-related deaths globally. Persistent infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) remains the main cause of HCC summing up to 50% of its causative etiology. Our recent studies, supported by findings from others, uncovered that HBV and its close relative woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) integrate into hepatocyte genome almost immediately, hence in minutes after infection. Retrotransposons and genes with translocation potential were found to be frequent sites of HBV insertions, suggesting a mechanism of HBV DNA spread across liver genome from the earliest stages after virus invasion. Many other genes were identified as the sites of early hepadnavirus merges in human hepatocyte-like lines infected de novo with HBV and in natural woodchuck WHV infection model. It was uncovered that head-to-tail joins (HTJs) prevail among the earliest virus-host fusions, implying their formation via the non-homologous-end-joining (NHEJ) pathway. Overlapping homologous junctions resulting from the micro-homology-mediated-overlapping-joining (MHMOJ) were rarely detected. Formation of the initial HTJs coincided with strong induction of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and transient appearance of inducible nitric oxide (iNOS). This was accompanied by cell DNA damage and activation of the poly(ADP-ribose) polymerase 1 (PARP1)-mediated host DNA repair machinery, which may explain predominant HTJ format of the first virus-host fusions. Identification of initial integration sites and resulting alterations in hepatocyte phenotype may pave a way to discovery of reliable markers of HBV-triggered HCC, including HCC resulting from occult HBV infection. Our research strongly argues that HBV is an ultimate human carcinogen capable of initiation of a pro-oncogenic process immediately after first contact with a susceptible host
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