The role of members of the nuclear receptor superfamily of transcription factors in regulating hepatitis B virus (HBV) transcription was investigated. Hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF4), the retinoid X receptor (RXR), and the peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor (PPAR) were examined for their capacity to modulate the level of transcriptional activity from the four HBV promoters by transient-transfection analysis in the dedifferentiated hepatoma cell line, HepG2.1. It was found that the nucleocapsid and large surface antigen promoters were transactivated in the presence of HNF4 whereas the enhancer I/X gene, nucleocapsid, and large surface antigen promoters were transactivated in the presence of RXR and PPAR. Characterization of the nuclear receptors interacting with the nucleocapsid promoter region demonstrated that HNF4 is the primary transcription factor binding to the regulatory region spanning nucleotides -127 to -102 whereas HNF4, RXR-PPAR heterodimers, COUPTF1, and ARP1 bind the regulatory region spanning nucleotides -34 to -7. Transcriptional transactivation from the nucleocapsid promoter by HNF4 appears to be mediated through the two HNF4 binding sites in the promoter, whereas modulation of the level of transcription from the nucleocapsid promoter by RXR-PPAR appears to be regulated by the regulatory sequence element spanning nucleotides -34 to -7 and the HBV enhancer 1 region. These observations indicate that HBV transcription, and pregenomic RNA synthesis in particular, is regulated by ligand-dependent nuclear receptors. Agonists and antagonists capable of regulating the activity of these nuclear receptors may permit the modulation of HBV transcription and consequently replication during viral infection.
|Number of pages||14|
|Journal||Journal of Virology|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Feb 1997|