Main content area

Innate immune evasion by hepatitis B virus-mediated downregulation of TRIF

Hong, Yun, Zhou, Lin, Xie, Haiyang, Zheng, Shusen
Biochemical and biophysical research communications 2015 v.463 pp. 719-725
Hepatitis B virus, apoptosis, dose response, gene expression regulation, hepatitis B, hepatocytes, hepatoma, humans, immune evasion, innate immunity, interferon-beta, liver, protein synthesis, signal transduction, viral proteins
Hepatocytes are the target host cells during hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Recent studies indicate that the innate immune response of hepatocytes plays an important role in inhibiting HBV replication. TIR-domain-containing adaptor inducing interferon-beta (TRIF) is a key component in innate immune signaling pathways. In this study, we found that the TRIF protein was downregulated in human hepatoma cell lines and liver tissue samples harboring HBV. Hepatitis B virus X protein (HBX) reduced TRIF protein expression in a dose-dependent manner via the proteasomal pathway. HBX appeared to not directly interact with TRIF as these proteins failed to co-immunoprecipitate when overexpressed in hepatoma cells. TRIF upregulation in hepatoma cell lines dramatically inhibited HBV transcription and expression of its viral proteins. Cellular apoptosis induced by TRIF was also confirmed in hepatoma cell lines. Taken together, these findings reveal a new mechanism for HBV evasion of the cellular innate immunity by HBX-mediated degradation of TRIF protein in hepatocytes.