Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects hundreds of millions of people worldwide and causes acute and chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. HBV is an enveloped virus with a relaxed circular (RC) DNA genome. In the nuclei of infected human hepatocytes, conversion of RC DNA from the incoming virion or cytoplasmic mature nucleocapsid (NC) to the covalently closed circular (CCC) DNA, which serves as the template for producing all viral transcripts, is essential to establish and sustain viral replication. For reasons yet to be understood, HBV is apparently unable to make CCC DNA in normal mouse hepatocytes in the liver. We report here that HBV CCC DNA was formed efficiently in an immortalized mouse hepatocyte cell line, AML12HBV10, and this is associated with destabilization of mature NCs in these cells. These results suggest that destabilization of mature HBV NCs in AML12HBV10 cells facilitates efficient NC uncoating and subsequent CCC DNA formation. They further implicate NC uncoating as an important step in CCC DNA formation that is subject to host regulation and potentially a critical determinant of host range and/or cell tropism of HBV.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science