Technical standards for hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) research

Authors

  • Betty L. Slagle,

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX
    • Address reprint requests to: Betty L. Slagle, Ph.D., Department of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Baylor College of Medicine, Mailstop BCM-385, Houston, TX 77030. E-mail: bslagle@bcm.edu; fax: 713-798-5075.

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  • Ourania M. Andrisani,

    1. Department of Basic Medical Sciences and Purdue Center for Cancer Research, Purdue University, West Lafayette, IN
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  • Michael J. Bouchard,

    1. Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA
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  • Caroline G.L. Lee,

    1. Department of Biochemistry, Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, National University of Singapore, Singapore; Division of Medical Sciences, Humphrey Oei Institute of Cancer Research, National Cancer Centre Singapore, Singapore; Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School Singapore, Singapore
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  • J.-H. James Ou,

    1. Department of Molecular Microbiology and Immunology, University of Southern California, Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA
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  • Aleem Siddiqui

    1. Division of Infectious Diseases, University of California, San Diego, CA
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  • Potential conflict of interest: Nothing to report.

  • Supported by NIH CA177951 (to B.L.S.); NIH DK044533 (to O.A.); AI085087, DK077704, and DK083479 (to A.S.); CA177337 and DK100257 (to J.O.); NMRC/1238/2009 (to C.G.L.L.).

Abstract

Chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a risk factor for developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The life cycle of HBV is complex and has been difficult to study because HBV does not infect cultured cells. The HBV regulatory X protein (HBx) controls the level of HBV replication and possesses an HCC cofactor role. Attempts to understand the mechanism(s) that underlie HBx effects on HBV replication and HBV-associated carcinogenesis have led to many reported HBx activities that are likely influenced by the assays used. This review summarizes experimental systems commonly used to study HBx functions, describes limitations of these experimental systems that should be considered, and suggests approaches for ensuring the biological relevance of HBx studies. (Hepatology 2015;61:1416–1424)

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