Hepatitis C virus core protein enhances hepatocellular carcinoma cells to be susceptible to oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus through down-regulation of HDAC4

Jeong Moon, Sirichat Kaowinn, Il Rae Cho, Do Sik Min, Heejoon Myung, Sangtaek Oh, Chutima Kaewpiboon, Olive H. Kraemer, Young Hwa Chung

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Since hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein is known to possess potential oncogenic activity, we explored whether oncolytic vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) could efficiently induce cytolysis in hepatocellular carcinoma cells stably expressing HCV core protein (Hep3B-Core). We found that Hep3B-Core cells were more susceptible to VSV as compared to control (Hep3B-Vec) cells owing to core-mediated inactivation of STAT1 and STAT2 proteins. Core expression induced lower phosphorylation levels of type I IFN signaling proteins such as Tyk2 and Jak1, and a reduced response to exogenous IFN-α, which resulted in susceptibility to VSV. Furthermore, as STAT1 acetylation by switching phosphorylation regulated its activity, the role of STAT1 acetylation in susceptibility of Hep3B-Core cells to VSV was investigated. Treatment with trichostatin A, an inhibitor of histone deacetylase (HDAC), increased STAT1 acetylation but blocked IFN-α-induced phosphorylation of STAT1, leading to increase of susceptibility to VSV. Interestingly, the core protein decreased HDCA4 transcript levels, leading to down-regulation of HDAC4 protein. However, ectopic expression of HDAC4 conversely enforced phosphorylation of STAT1 and hindered VSV replication, indicating that core-mediated reduction of HDAC4 provides a suitable intracellular circumstance for VSV replication. Collectively, we suggest that VSV treatment will be a useful therapeutic strategy for HCV-infected hepatocellular carcinoma cells because HCV core protein suppresses the anti-viral threshold by down-regulation of the STAT1-HDAC4 signaling axis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)428-434
Number of pages7
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Jun 3


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cell Biology

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