Biochemical and Biophysical Research Communications, Vol.310, No.1, 32-39, 2003
Reactive oxygen species modulates the intracellular level of HBx viral oncoprotein
HBx (hepatitis B virus X) viral oncoprotein is a multifunctional protein of which the cellular level may be one of the important factors in determining HBV-mediated pathological progression of liver diseases, chronic hepatitis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Our previous work revealed that adriamycin, a chemotherapeutic agent, caused a marked increase in the intracellular level of HBx by retarding its rapid degradation. In the present study, modulation of HBx expression was found to be confined to adriamycin but not to other chemotherapeutic agents, cisplatin and 5-fluorouracil. Interestingly, adriamycin caused a rapid increase of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and its accumulation continued until 24 h. In contrast, two other agents had little effect on ROS generation, suggesting the possible involvement of ROS in the HBx regulation. In fact, direct addition of H2O2 to the cells significantly increased the level of HBx protein in HBx-expressing ChangX-34 cells as well as in hepatitis B virus-related hepatoma cells, PLC/PRF/5 and HepG2.2.15 cells. Furthermore, antioxidants, N-acetyl-cysteine and pyrrolidinedithiocarbamate (PDTC), completely abolished the increase of HBx protein induced by adriamycin, indicating that adriamycin modulates the intracellular HBx level via ROS generation. Together, these findings provide a novel aspect of HBx regulation by cellular ROS level. Therefore, intracellular microenvironments generating ROS such as severe inflammation may aggravate the pathogenesis of liver disease by accumulating the HBx level. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.