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Expressional screening of interferon-stimulated genes for antiviral activity against hepatitis C virus replication

Authors


Naoya Sakamoto MD PhD, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.
E-mail: nsakamoto.gast@tmd.ac.jp

Abstract

Summary.  Type-I interferons (IFNs) and the interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) play a major role in antivirus responses against hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. In this study, we studied expression profiles of ISGs in cells supporting subgenomic HCV replication (Huh7/Rep), and screened their activities to suppress HCV replication. Real-time PCR analyses showed that the expression levels of 23 ISGs were significantly lower in Huh7/Rep than naive Huh7 cells due to transcriptional suppression of the interferon-stimulated response element (ISRE). Furthermore, the expression level of ISGs was also decreased in the cured Huh7 cells in which replicon had been eliminated (cHuh7), indicating adaptation of the cells to support HCV replication by downregulating ISGs. On the other hand, expression of HCV replicon was significantly suppressed by overexpression of several ISGs including PKR, MxA, IRF-9, GBP-1, IFI-6-16, IFI-27, 25OAS and IRF-1. Knock down of GBP-1, IFI-6-16 and IFI-27 by short hairpin RNA resulted in increase of HCV replication. Thus, we conclude that downregulation of ISG expression is required in the host cells supporting HCV replication and that several ISGs directly suppress HCV replication. The search for ISGs that regulate HCV replication may help to elucidate the cellular antiviral defence mechanisms against HCV infection.

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