MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are a new class of well-conserved small noncoding RNAs that mediate posttranscriptional gene regulation. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes various liver diseases, including chronic hepatitis, liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular cancer. Recent data have indicated HBV alters miRNAs expression patterns, but the underlying mechanisms have not been fully established so far. Here, we provide a hypothesis that HBV alters the expressions of miRNAs by playing a role in the microRNA production process. In this study, we demonstrate that HBV downregulates miRNAs processor DGCR8 mRNA and protein expression in stable and transient HBV-expressing cells. HBV downregulates DGCR8 expression by inhibiting its promoter activity, and HBs and HBx may be involved in this process. Ectopic expression and knockdown of YY1 revealed that YY1 suppresses the activity of the DGCR8 promoter, while YY1 expression is significantly upregulated by HBV. In conclusion, our data show that HBV proteins repress DGCR8 promoter activity by upregulating the expression of transcription factor YY1. This provides a new insight into the mechanism of HBV-induced miRNA dysregulation.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 1, 2015
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