Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.527, No.1, 76-82, 2020
IFN-alpha 2b inhibits the ethanol enriched-HBV cccDNA through blocking a positive feedback loop of HBx/MSL2/cccDNA/HBV/HBx in liver
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major risk factor for liver diseases, in which HBV covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), as the genomic form that templates viral transcription, plays crucial roles in sustaining viral persistence. Clinically, the excessive ethanol intake accelerates the progression of liver diseases with HBV infection. Here, we supposed that ethanol might trigger HBV cccDNA in the liver. Interestingly, we observed that the ethanol remarkably elevated the levels of HBeAg, HBsAg, HBV DNA and cccDNA in HBV-expressing hepatoma cells. Mechanically, the ethanol increased the levels of HBx and MSL2 in vivo and in HBV-expressing HepG2 cells, but not in HBV-free HepG2 cells. Moreover, the down-regulation of MSL2 by small interference RNA could block the ethanol-promoted HBV cccDNA in HepG2.2.15 cells. As a commonly administered treatment for HBV, the effect of IFN alpha on ethanol-triggered HBV cccDNA remains poorly understood. Strikingly, we showed that the treatment with IFN-alpha 2b inhibited the ethanol-promoted cccDNA through depressing MSL2 in the cells. Thus, we conclude that IFN-alpha 2b inhibits the ethanol-enriched HBV cccDNA through blocking a positive feedback loop of HBx/MSL2/cccDNA/HBV/HBx. Our finding provides new insights into the mechanism by which IFN-alpha 2b inhibits ethanol-enhanced HBV cccDNA. Therapeutically, IFN alpha may contribute to the cccDNA induced by ethanol in liver. (c) 2020 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.