Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the most common etiologic agents of chronic liver diseases, including liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. In addition, HCV infection is often associated with extrahepatic manifestations (EHM), including mixed cryoglobulinemia and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. However, the mechanisms of cell tropism of HCV and HCV-induced EHM remain elusive, because in vitro propagation of HCV has been limited in the combination of cell culture-adapted HCV (HCVcc) and several hepatic cell lines. Recently, a liver-specific microRNA called miR-122 was shown to facilitate the efficient propagation of HCVcc in several hepatic cell lines. In this study, we evaluated the importance of miR-122 on the replication of HCV in nonhepatic cells. Among the nonhepatic cell lines expressing functional HCV entry receptors, Hec1B cells derived from human uterus exhibited a low level of replication of the HCV genome upon infection with HCVcc. Exogenous expression of miR-122 in several cells facilitates efficient viral replication but not production of infectious particles, probably due to the lack of hepatocytic lipid metabolism. Furthermore, expression of mutant miR-122 carrying a substitution in a seed domain was required for efficient replication of mutant HCVcc carrying complementary substitutions in miR-122-binding sites, suggesting that specific interaction between miR-122 and HCV RNA is essential for the enhancement of viral replication. In conclusion, although miR-122 facilitates efficient viral replication in nonhepatic cells, factors other than miR-122, which are most likely specific to hepatocytes, are required for HCV assembly.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science