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Ferritin light chain and squamous cell carcinoma antigen 1 are coreceptors for cellular attachment and entry of hepatitis B virus

Authors Hao Z, Zheng L, Kluwe L, Huang W

Received 31 October 2011

Accepted for publication 15 December 2011

Published 16 February 2012 Volume 2012:7 Pages 827—834


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Zhaojing Hao1, Li Zheng1, Lan Kluwe2, Weida Huang1,3

1Department of Biochemistry, School of Life Sciences, Fudan University, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China; 2Laboratory for Tumor Biology and Developmental Disorders, Department of Maxillofacial Surgery, University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany; 3Laboratory for Synthetic Biology, Centers for Nano-Medicine, Shanghai, People’s Republic of China

Abstract: Overexpression of squamous cell carcinoma antigen 1 (SCCA1) in hepatitis G2 (HepG2) and Chinese hamster ovary cells can increase hepatitis B virus (HBV) binding capacity by interacting with the preS1 domain of the HBV surface antigen. However, the magnitude of increase in binding capacity was higher by several orders in the former, indicating the existence of additional factor(s) produced by HepG2 cells, which facilitates HBV attachment. Ferritin light chain (FTL) was identified as the sole high hit candidate by screening human liver cDNA library using a bacterial two-hybrid system with either preS or SCCA1 as the bait. Subsequent in vitro protein–protein interaction assays confirmed the binding activity of FTL to both preS and SCCA1, as well as the formation of triple complex preS-FTL-SCCA1, and narrowed down the binding sites on FTL. In vitro overexpression of FTL could further enhance HBV attachment in both HepG2 and Chinese hamster ovary cells, which were already overexpressing SCCA1. Importantly, in vivo co-expression of human FTL and SCCA1 in mouse liver by means of tail-vein hydrodynamic injection increased serum levels of HBV surface antigen transiently 24 hours post challenge with HBV-positive human sera, and a large amount of HBV core antigen-positive hepatocytes around blood vessels could be identified by immunohistochemical staining 48 hours post challenge. The data strongly suggest that FTL and SCCA1 may serve as coreceptors in HBV cellular attachment and virus entry into hepatocytes.

Keywords: squamous cell carcinoma antigen 1, ferritin light chain, hepatitis B virus, coreceptors

Corrigendum for this article has been published.

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