1887

Abstract

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) covalently closed circular (CCC) DNA is the source of HBV transcripts and persistence in chronically infected patients. The novel aspect of this study was to determine the effect of RNA interference (RNAi) on HBV CCC DNA when administered prior to establishment of HBV replication or during chronic HBV infection. HBV replication was initiated in HepG2 cells by transduction with HBV baculovirus. Subculture of HBV-expressing HepG2 cells at 10 days post-transduction generates a system in which HBV replication is ongoing and HBV is expressed largely from CCC DNA, thus simulating chronic HBV infection. HepG2 cells were transduced with short hairpin RNA (shRNA)-expressing baculovirus prior to initiation of HBV replication or during chronic HBV replication, and the levels of HBV RNA, HBV surface antigens (HBsAg) and replicative intermediates (RI), extracellular (EC) and CCC DNA species were measured. HBsAg, HBV RNA and DNA levels were markedly reduced until day 8 whether cells were transduced with shRNA prior to or during a chronic infection; however, the CCC DNA species were only affected when shRNA was administered prior to initiation of infection. We conclude that RNAi may have a therapeutic value for controlling HBV replication at the level of RI and EC DNA and for reducing establishment of CCC DNA during HBV infection. Our data support previous findings demonstrating the stability of HBV CCC DNA following antiviral therapy. This study also reports the development of a novel HBV baculovirus subculture system that can be used to evaluate antiviral effects on chronic HBV replication.

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2009-01-01
2019-11-18
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