Liver cirrhosis is a potentially life-threatening disease caused by progressive displacement of functional hepatocytes by fibrous tissue. The underlying fibrosis is often driven by chronic infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). Matrix metalloproteinases including MMP-8 are crucial for excess collagen degradation. In a rat model of liver cirrhosis, MMP-8 delivery by an adenovirus (Ad) vector achieved significant amelioration of fibrosis but application of Ad vectors in humans is subject to various issues, including a lack of intrinsic liver specificity.
Viral vectors are engineered virus variants able to deliver nonviral genetic information into cells, usually by the same routes as the parental viruses. For several virus families, replication-competent vectors carrying reporter genes have become invaluable tools for easy and quantitative monitoring of replication and infection, and thus also for identifying antivirals and virus susceptible cells. For hepatitis B virus (HBV), a small enveloped DNA virus causing B-type hepatitis, such vectors are not available because insertions into its tiny 3.2 kb genome almost inevitably affect essential replication elements. HBV replicates by reverse transcription of the pregenomic (pg) RNA which is also required as bicistronic mRNA for the capsid (core) protein and the reverse transcriptase (Pol); their open reading frames (ORFs) overlap by some 150 basepairs. Translation of the downstream Pol ORF does not involve a conventional internal ribosome entry site (IRES). We reasoned that duplicating the overlap region and providing artificial IRES control for translation of both Pol and an in-between inserted transgene might yield a functional tricistronic pgRNA, without interfering with envelope protein expression. As IRESs we used a 22 nucleotide element termed Rbm3 IRES to minimize genome size increase. Model plasmids confirmed its activity even in tricistronic arrangements. Analogous plasmids for complete HBV genomes carrying 399 bp and 720 bp transgenes for blasticidin resistance (BsdR) and humanized Renilla green fluorescent protein (hrGFP) produced core and envelope proteins like wild-type HBV; while the hrGFP vector replicated poorly, the BsdR vector generated around 40% as much replicative DNA as wild-type HBV. Both vectors, however, formed enveloped virions which were infectious for HBV-susceptible HepaRG cells. Because numerous reporter and effector genes with sizes of around 500 bp or less are available, the new HBV vectors should become highly useful tools to better understand, and combat, this important pathogen.
We tested the capsid targeted viral inactivation method as an anti-HBV strategy. HepG2 cells were cotransfected with HBV expression plasmid and the plasmid encoding fusion protein of either Core-A3C or Core-humanized renilla GFP (hrGFP). Core-A3C had substantial effect on HBV DNA levels. In the HepG2 cells expressing Core-A3C, the number of G-to-A mutations increased dramatically, whereas other nucleotide substitutions were rare. In addition, Core-A3C substantially inhibited HBV production intracellularly and in culture supernatant. These results suggest that Core-A3C may be a candidate as a novel antiviral agent against human HBV infection.
RNA interference (RNAi) may offer new treatment options for chronic hepatitis B. Replicating via an RNA intermediate, hepatitis B virus (HBV) is known to be principally vulnerable to RNAi. However, beyond delivery, the relevant issues of potential off-target effects, target site conservation in circulating HBV strains, and efficacy of RNAi itself have not systematically been addressed, nor can the different existing data be quantitatively compared. The aim of this study was to provide such information.
Related JoVE Video
Journal of Visualized Experiments
What is Visualize?
JoVE Visualize is a tool created to match the last 5 years of PubMed publications to methods in JoVE's video library.
How does it work?
We use abstracts found on PubMed and match them to JoVE videos to create a list of 10 to 30 related methods videos.
Video X seems to be unrelated to Abstract Y...
In developing our video relationships, we compare around 5 million PubMed articles to our library of over 4,500 methods videos. In some cases the language used in the PubMed abstracts makes matching that content to a JoVE video difficult. In other cases, there happens not to be any content in our video library that is relevant to the topic of a given abstract. In these cases, our algorithms are trying their best to display videos with relevant content, which can sometimes result in matched videos with only a slight relation.