Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is the most common of the hepatitis viruses that cause chronic liver infections in humans and it is considered a major global health problem. However, the mechanisms of HBV replication are complex and not yet fully understood. In this study, the HBV DNA-transfected HepG2.2.15 cell line and its parental HepG2 cell line were analyzed by isobaric tags for relative and absolute quantitation (iTRAQ)-coupled two-dimensional liquid chromatography tandem mass-spectrophotometry (2D LC-MS/MS), a successfully exploited high-throughput proteomic technology. In total, 2,028 unique proteins were identified and 170 proteins were differentially expressed in HepG2.2.15 cells as compared with that in HepG2. Several differentially expressed proteins were further validated by Western blot and real-time quantitative reverse transcription-PCR. Furthermore, the association of HBV replication with heat shock protein B1, one of the highly expressed proteins in HepG2.2.15 cells, was verified. HSPB1 functions as a anti-viral protein during HBV infection by specifically inducing type interferon and some downstream antiviral effectors. This study is the first to report the application of iTRAQ technology to analyze the underlying mechanisms of HBV replication. Many of the differentially expressed proteins identified have not been linked to HBV replication before, and may provide valuable novel insights into HBV replication. J. Cell. Biochem. 114: 162–173, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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