OBJECTIVE: Interferons (IFNs) mediate direct antiviral activity. They play a crucial role in the early host immune response against viral infections. However, IFN therapy for HBV infection is less effective than for other viral infections.
DESIGN: We explored the cellular targets of HBV in response to IFNs using proteome-wide screening.
RESULTS: Using LC-MS/MS, we identified proteins downregulated and upregulated by IFN treatment in HBV X protein (HBx)-stable and control cells. We found several IFN-stimulated genes downregulated by HBx, including TRIM22, which is known as an antiretroviral protein. We demonstrated that HBx suppresses the transcription of TRIM22 through a single CpG methylation in its 5'-UTR, which further reduces the IFN regulatory factor-1 binding affinity, thereby suppressing the IFN-stimulated induction of TRIM22.
CONCLUSIONS: We verified our findings using a mouse model, primary human hepatocytes and human liver tissues. Our data elucidate a mechanism by which HBV evades the host innate immune system.
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