Potential Role of Hepatitis C Virus Alternate Reading Frame Protein in Negative Regulation of T-Bet Gene Expression
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Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a major cause of chronic liver disease and has led to cirrhosis or hepatocellular carcinoma in a majority of infected individuals. We have previously demonstrated that the HCV alternate reading frame protein (F protein) is related to Th1/Th2 bias in chronic hepatitis C (CHC) patients, and we aimed to explore the relative molecular mechanisms here. A total of 104 cases including CHC patients and healthy donors were enrolled. T-bet and GATA-3 expression levels were analyzed in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The levels of signal transducer and activator of transcription-1/-6(STAT1/6) and phosphorylated STAT1/6(pSTAT1/6) in PBMCs were measured by Western blotting. Our results showed that the levels of T-bet in PBMCs, as well as the levels of gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in sera, were decreased in anti-F protein antibody seropositive patients compared with anti-F protein antibody seronegative patients, whereas the levels of GATA-3 did not show difference between the two groups. Moreover, the decreased pSTAT1 and increased pSTAT6 were observed in PBMCs by HCV core/F protein stimulation with constant STAT1/6 expression. Taken together, it suggested that T-bet may be involved in Th1/Th2 bias induced by HCV F protein, and the disruption of STAT phosphorylation may participate in this mediation.
KEY WORDSF protein hepatitis C virus Th1 Th2 T-bet
This study was supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (grant nos. 81172724 and 30972628), the National Major Scientific and Technological Projects (grant no. 2011ZX10004‑902), and the Natural Science Foundation of Jiangsu Province, China (grant no. BK2011840).
Conflicts of Interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
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