The hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx) is suggested to regulate transcription by stimulation of intracellular signalling pathways. We have analysed the effects of HBx on activation of the MAP kinase (Erk) and JNK/SAPK signalling pathways and confirm a stimulation of the Erk/MAP kinase in quiescent cells. However, a substantial Erk-independent activation of AP-1, and phosphorylation of c-Jun (serine-63), but not Erk-2, was induced by HBx in dividing, serum-maintained cells. These data suggest that HBx promiscuously activates Erk and JNK responsive pathways and that its overall effect on signalling may be influenced by external mitogenic stimuli.


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