Growth differentiation factor 15 is induced by hepatitis C virus infection and regulates hepatocellular carcinoma-related genes.
ABSTRACT: Liver fibrosis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) are commonly induced by chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. We aimed to identify and characterize the involvement of previously screened cytokine GDF15 in HCV pathogenesis. We examined the GDF15 expression after HCV infection both in vitro and in vivo. Cultured JFH-1 HCV was used to determine the GDF15 function on virus propagation. GDF15 overexpression and RNA interference were employed to profile the GDF15-regulated genes, signaling pathways and cell biology phenotypes. The mRNA expression and protein secretion of GDF15 was dramatically increased in HCV-infected hepatoma cells, which maybe a host response to viral proteins or infection-induced cell stress. Patients infected with HCV had an average 15-fold higher blood GDF15 level than that of healthy volunteers. Three HCC individuals in the HCV cohort showed extremely high GDF15 concentrations. Transfection or exogenously supplied GDF15 enhanced HCV propagation, whereas knockdown of endogenous GDF15 resulted in inhibition of virus replication. Overexpressed GDF15 led to Akt activation and the phosphorylation of Akt downstream targeted GSK-3? and Raf. Several HCC-related molecules, such as E-cadherin, ?-catenin, Cyclin A2/B1/D1, were up-regulated by GDF15 stimulation in vitro. Overexpression of GDF15 in hepatoma cells resulted in increased DNA synthesis, promoted cell proliferation, and importantly enhanced invasiveness of the cells. In conclusion, these results suggest that an elevated serum GDF15 level is a potential diagnostic marker for viral hepatitis, and GDF15 may contribute to HCV pathogenesis by altering the signaling and growth of host cells.
Project description:Recognition of hepatitis C virus (HCV)-infected hepatocyes and interferon (IFN) induction are critical in antiviral immune response. We hypothesized that cell-cell contact between plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs) and HCV-infected cells was required for IFN-? induction through the involvement of cell-surface molecules. Coculture of human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) with genotype 1a full-length (FL) HCV genomic replicon cells or genotype 2a Japanese fulminant hepatitis type 1 (JFH-1) virus-infected hepatoma cells (JFH-1), and not with uninfected hepatoma cells (Huh7.5), induced IFN-? production. Depletion of pDCs from PBMCs attenuated IFN-? release, and purified pDCs produced high levels of IFN-? after coculture with FL replicons or JFH-1-infected cells. IFN-? induction by HCV-containing hepatoma cells required viral replication, direct cell-cell contact with pDCs, and receptor-mediated endocytosis. We determined that the tetraspanin proteins, CD81 and CD9, and not other HCV entry receptors, were required for IFN-? induction in pDCs by HCV-infected hepatoma cells. Disruption of cholesterol-rich membrane microdomains, the localization site of CD81, or inhibition of the CD81 downstream molecule, Rac GTPase, inhibited IFN-? production. IFN-? induction involved HCV RNA and Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7. IFN-? production by HCV-infected hepatoma cells was decreased in pDCs from HCV-infected patients, compared to healthy controls. We found that preexposure of healthy PBMCs to HCV viral particles attenuated IFN-? induction by HCV-infected hepatoma cells or TLR ligands, and this inhibitory effect could be prevented by an anti-HCV envelope glycoprotein 2-blocking antibody.Our novel data show that recognition of HCV-infected hepatoma cells by pDCs involves CD81- and CD9-associated membrane microdomains and induces potent IFN-? production.
Project description:Mechanisms that favor Hepatitis C virus (HCV) persistence over clearance are unclear, but involve defective innate immunity. Chronic infection is characterized by hepatic iron overload, hyperferraemia and hyperferittinaemia. Hepcidin modulates iron egress via ferroportin and its storage in ferritin. Chronic HCV patients have decreased hepcidin, while HCV replication is modified by HAMP silencing. We aimed to investigate interactions between HCV and hepcidin, during acute and chronic disease, and putative alterations in cellular iron homeostasis that enhance HCV propagation and promote viral persistence. Thus, we used HCV JFH-1-infected co-cultures of Huh7.5 hepatoma and THP-1 macrophage cells, HCV patients' sera and Huh7 hepcidin-expressing cells transfected with HCV replicons. Hepcidin levels were elevated in acutely infected patients, but correlated with viral load in chronic patients. HAMP expression was up-regulated early in HCV infection in vitro, with corresponding changes in ferritin and FPN. Hepcidin overexpression enhanced both viral translation and replication. In HCV-infected co-cultures, we observed increased hepcidin, reduced hepatoma ferritin and a concurrent rise in macrophaghic ferritin over time. Altered iron levels complemented amplified replication in hepatoma cells and one replication round in macrophages. Iron-loading of macrophages led to enhancement of hepatic HCV replication through reversed ferritin "flow." Viral transmissibility from infected macrophages to naïve hepatoma cells was induced by iron. We propose that HCV control over iron occurs both by intracellular iron sequestration, through hepcidin, and intercellular iron mobilisation via ferritin, as means toward enhanced replication. Persistence could be achieved through HCV-induced changes in macrophagic iron that enhances viral replication in these cells.
Project description:Although the recently developed infectious hepatitis C virus system that uses the JFH-1 clone enables the study of whole HCV viral life cycles, limited particular HCV strains have been available with the system. In this study, we isolated another genotype 2a HCV cDNA, the JFH-2 strain, from a patient with fulminant hepatitis. JFH-2 subgenomic replicons were constructed. HuH-7 cells transfected with in vitro transcribed replicon RNAs were cultured with G418, and selected colonies were isolated and expanded. From sequencing analysis of the replicon genome, several mutations were found. Some of the mutations enhanced JFH-2 replication; the 2217AS mutation in the NS5A interferon sensitivity-determining region exhibited the strongest adaptive effect. Interestingly, a full-length chimeric or wild-type JFH-2 genome with the adaptive mutation could replicate in Huh-7.5.1 cells and produce infectious virus after extensive passages of the virus genome-replicating cells. Virus infection efficiency was sufficient for autonomous virus propagation in cultured cells. Additional mutations were identified in the infectious virus genome. Interestingly, full-length viral RNA synthesized from the cDNA clone with these adaptive mutations was infectious for cultured cells. This approach may be applicable for the establishment of new infectious HCV clones.
Project description:Hepatitis C virus (HCV) primarily replicates within the liver, leading to hepatitis, fibrosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Infection is also associated with B-cell abnormalities, suggesting an association of the virus with B cells. The infectious JFH-1 strain of HCV can bind primary and immortalized B cells but fails to establish productive infection. However, B cell-associated virus readily infects hepatoma cells, showing an enhanced infectivity compared with extracellular virus. B cells express the viral receptors CD81, SR-BI, and the C-type lectins DC-SIGN and L-SIGN. Antibodies specific for SR-BI and DC-SIGN/L-SIGN reduced B-cell transinfection, supporting a role for these molecules in B-cell association with HCV. Stimulation of B cells with CD40 ligand and interleukin-4 promoted their ability to transinfect hepatoma cells. B cell-associated virus is resistant to trypsin proteolysis and HCV-specific neutralizing antibodies, consistent with particle internalization. HCV promoted the adhesion of primary B cells to Huh-7 hepatomas, providing a mechanism for B-cell retention in the infected liver. In summary, B cells may provide a vehicle for HCV to persist and transmit to the liver.
Project description:Chronic hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection is the leading risk factor for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and chronic liver disease worldwide. Green tea, in addition to being consumed as a healthy beverage, contains phenolic catechins that have been used as medicinal substances. In the present study, we illustrated that the epicatechin isomers (+)-epicatechin and (-)-epicatechin concentration-dependently inhibited HCV replication at nontoxic concentrations by using in vitro cell-based HCV replicon and JFH-1 infectious systems. In addition to significantly suppressing virus-induced cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2) expression, our results revealed that the anti-HCV activity of the epicatechin isomers occurred through the down-regulation of COX-2. Furthermore, both the epicatechin isomers additively inhibited HCV replication in combination with either interferon-? or viral enzyme inhibitors [2'-C-methylcytidine (NM-107) or telaprevir]. They also had prominent anti-inflammatory effects by inhibiting the gene expression of tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-?, interleukin (IL)-1?, and inducible nitrite oxide synthase as well as the COX-2 in viral protein-expressing hepatoma Huh-7 cells. Collectively, (+)-epicatechin and (-)-epicatechin may serve as therapeutic supplements for treating HCV-related diseases.
Project description:Arbidol (ARB) is an antiviral compound that was originally proven effective for treatment of influenza and several other respiratory viral infections. The broad spectrum of ARB anti-viral activity led us to evaluate its effect on hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection and replication in cell culture. Long-term ARB treatment of Huh7 cells chronically replicating a genomic length genotype 1b replicon resulted in sustained reduction of viral RNA and protein expression, and eventually cured HCV infected cells. Pre-treatment of human hepatoma Huh7.5.1 cells with 15 microM ARB for 24 to 48 hours inhibited acute infection with JFH-1 virus by up to 1000-fold. The inhibitory effect of ARB on HCV was not due to generalized cytotoxicity, nor to augmentation of IFN antiviral signaling pathways, but involved impaired virus-mediated membrane fusion. ARB's affinity for membranes may inhibit several aspects of the HCV lifecycle that are membrane-dependent.
Project description:Osteopontin (OPN) is a secreted phosphoprotein which has been linked to tumor progression and metastasis in a variety of cancers including hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Previous studies have shown that OPN is upregulated during liver injury and inflammation. However, the role of OPN in hepatitis C virus (HCV)-induced liver disease pathogenesis is not known. In this study, we determined the induction of OPN, and then investigated the effect of secreted forms of OPN in epithelial to mesenchymal transition (EMT), migration and invasion of hepatocytes. We show the induction of OPN mRNA and protein expression by HCV-infection. Our results also demonstrate the processing of precursor OPN (75 kDa) into 55 kDa, 42 kDa and 36 kDa forms of OPN in HCV-infected cells. Furthermore, we show the binding of secreted OPN to integrin ?V?3 and CD44 at the cell surface, leading to the activation of downstream cellular kinases such as focal adhesion kinase (FAK), Src, and Akt. Importantly, our results show the reduced expression of epithelial marker (E-cadherin) and induction of mesenchymal marker (N-cadherin) in HCV-infected cells. We also show the migration and invasion of HCV-infected cells using wound healing assay and matrigel coated Boyden chamber. In addition, we demonstrate the activation of above EMT markers, and the critical players involved in OPN-mediated cell signaling cascade using primary human hepatocytes infected with Japanese fulminant hepatitis (JFH)-1 HCV. Taken together, these studies suggest a potential role of OPN in inducing chronic liver disease and HCC associated with chronic HCV infection.
Project description:Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is an inflammatory cytokine expressed by human fetal liver cells (HFLCs) after infection with cell culture-derived hepatitis C virus (HCV). TNF has been reported to increase entry of HCV pseudoparticles into hepatoma cells and inhibit signaling by interferon alpha (IFN?), but have no effect on HCV-RNA replication. We investigated the effects of TNF on HCV infection of and spread among Huh-7 hepatoma cells and primary HFLCs.Human hepatoma (Huh-7 and Huh-7.5) and primary HFLCs were incubated with TNF and/or recombinant IFNA2A, IFNB, IFNL1, and IFNL2 before or during HCV infection. We used 2 fully infectious HCV chimeric viruses of genotype 2A in these studies: J6/JFH (clone 2) and Jc1(p7-nsGluc2A) (Jc1G), which encodes a secreted luciferase reporter. We measured HCV replication, entry, spread, production, and release in hepatoma cells and HFLCs.TNF inhibited completion of the HCV infectious cycle in hepatoma cells and HFLCs in a dose-dependent and time-dependent manner. This inhibition required TNF binding to its receptor. Inhibition was independent of IFN?, IFN?, IFNL1, IFNL2, or Janus kinase signaling via signal transducer and activator of transcription. TNF reduced production of infectious viral particles by Huh-7 and HFLC, and thereby reduced the number of infected cells and focus size. TNF had little effect on HCV replicons and increased entry of HCV pseudoparticles. When cells were incubated with TNF before infection, the subsequent antiviral effects of IFNs were increased.In a cell culture system, we found TNF to have antiviral effects independently of, as well as in combination with, IFNs. TNF inhibits HCV infection despite increased HCV envelope glycoprotein-mediated infection of liver cells. These findings contradict those from other studies, which have reported that TNF blocks signal transduction in response to IFNs. The destructive inflammatory effects of TNF must be considered along with its antiviral effects.
Project description:Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and liver cirrhosis are associated with high mortality worldwide. Currently, alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) is used as a standard serum marker for the detection of HCC, but its sensitivity and specificity are unsatisfactory, and optimal diagnostic markers for cirrhosis are lacking. We previously reported that growth differentiation factor 15 (GDF15) was significantly induced in HCV-infected hepatocytes. This study aimed to investigate GDF15 expression and its correlation with hepatitis virus-related liver diseases. A total of 412 patients with various liver diseases were studied. Healthy and Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected subjects were included as controls. Serum and tissue GDF15 levels were measured. Serum GDF15 levels were significantly increased in patients with HCC (6.66±0.67 ng/mL, p<0.0001) and cirrhosis (6.51±1.47 ng/mL, p<0.0001) compared with healthy controls (0.31±0.01 ng/mL), though the GDF15 levels in HBV and HCV carriers were moderately elevated (1.34±0.19 ng/mL and 2.13±0.53 ng/mL, respectively). Compared with HBV or HCV carriers, GDF15 had a sensitivity of 63.1% and a specificity of 86.6% at the optimal cut-off point of 2.463 ng/mL in patients with liver cirrhosis or HCC. In HCC patients, the area under the receiver operating curve was 0.84 for GDF15 and 0.76 for AFP, but 0.91 for the combined GDF15 and AFP. Serum GDF15 levels did not significantly differ between the high-AFP and low-AFP groups. GDF15 protein expression in HCC was significantly higher than that in the corresponding adjacent paracarcinomatous tissue and normal liver. Using a combination of GDF15 and AFP will improve the sensitivity and specificity of HCC diagnosis. Further research and the clinical implementation of serum GDF15 measurement as a biomarker for HCC and cirrhosis are recommended.
Project description:Entry of hepatitis C virus (HCV) into hepatocytes is a complex process that involves numerous cellular factors, including the scavenger receptor class B type 1 (SR-B1), the tetraspanin CD81, and the tight junction (TJ) proteins claudin-1 (CLDN1) and occludin (OCLN). Despite expression of all known HCV-entry factors, in vitro models based on hepatoma cell lines do not fully reproduce the in vivo susceptibility of liver cells to primary HCV isolates, implying the existence of additional host factors which are critical for HCV entry and/or replication. Likewise, HCV replication is severely impaired within hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) tissue in vivo, but the mechanisms responsible for this restriction are presently unknown. Here, we identify tumor-associated calcium signal transducer 2 (TACSTD2), one of the most downregulated genes in primary HCC tissue, as a host factor that interacts with CLDN1 and OCLN and regulates their cellular localization. TACSTD2 gene silencing disrupts the typical linear distribution of CLDN1 and OCLN along the cellular membrane in both hepatoma cells and primary human hepatocytes, recapitulating the pattern observed in vivo in primary HCC tissue. Mechanistic studies suggest that TACSTD2 is involved in the phosphorylation of CLDN1 and OCLN, which is required for their proper cellular localization. Silencing of TACSTD2 dramatically inhibits HCV infection with a pan-genotype effect that occurs at the level of viral entry. Our study identifies TACSTD2 as a novel regulator of two major HCV-entry factors, CLDN1 and OCLN, which is strongly downregulated in malignant hepatocytes. These results provide new insights into the complex process of HCV entry into hepatocytes and may assist in the development of more efficient cellular systems for HCV propagation in vitro.