Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C. ; Division of Gastroenterology, Department of Internal Medicine, Tri-Service General Hospital, National Defense Medical Center, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported to regulate cellular microRNAs. The HCV core protein is considered to be a potential oncoprotein in HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma, but HCV core-modulated cellular microRNAs are unknown. The HCV core protein regulates p21(Waf1/Cip1) expression. However, the mechanism of HCV core-associated p21(Waf1/Cip1) regulation remains to be further clarified. Therefore, we attempted to determine whether HCV core-modulated cellular microRNAs play an important role in regulating p21(Waf1/Cip1) expression in human hepatoma cells.
Cellular microRNA profiling was investigated in core-overexpressing hepatoma cells using TaqMan low density array. Array data were further confirmed by TaqMan real-time qPCR for single microRNA in core-overexpressing and full-length HCV replicon-expressing cells. The target gene of microRNA was examined by reporter assay. The gene expression was determined by real-time qPCR and Western blotting. Apoptosis was examined by annexin V-FITC apoptosis assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by propidium iodide staining. Cell proliferation was analyzed by MTT assay.
HCV core protein up- or down-regulated some cellular microRNAs in Huh7 cells. HCV core-induced microRNA-345 suppressed p21(Waf1/Cip1) gene expression through targeting its 3' untranslated region in human hepatoma cells. Moreover, the core protein inhibited curcumin-induced apoptosis through p21(Waf1/Cip1)-targeting microRNA-345 in Huh7 cells.
CONCLUSION AND SIGNIFICANCE:
HCV core protein enhances the expression of microRNA-345 which then down-regulates p21(Waf1/Cip1) expression. It is the first time that HCV core protein has ever been shown to suppress p21(Waf1/Cip1) gene expression through miR-345 targeting.