Journal of viral hepatitis

Expression of microRNA-155 correlates positively with the expression of Toll-like receptor 7 and modulates hepatitis B virus via C/EBP-β in hepatocytes.

PMID 25720442


Effective recognition of viral infection and successive activation of antiviral innate immune responses are vital for host antiviral defence, which largely depends on multiple regulators, including Toll-like receptors (TLRs) and microRNAs. Several early reports suggest that specific TLR-mediated immune responses can control hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication and express differentially with disease outcome. Considering the versatile function of miR-155 in the TLR-mediated innate immune response, we aimed to study the association between miR-155 and TLRs and their subsequent impact on HBV replication using both a HBV-replicating stable cell line (HepG2.2.15) and HBV-infected liver biopsy and serum samples. Our results showed that miR-155 was suppressed during HBV infection and a subsequent positive correlation of miR-155 with TLR7 activation was noted. Further, ectopic expression of miR-155 in vitro reduced HBV load as evidenced from reduced viral DNA, mRNA and subsequently reduced level of secreted viral antigens (HBsAg and HBeAg). Our results further suggested that CCAAT/enhancer-binding protein-β (C/EBP-β), a positive regulator of HBV transcription, was inhibited by miR-155. Taken together, our study established a correlation between miR-155 and TLR7 during HBV infection and also demonstrated in vitro that increased miR-155 level could help to reduce HBV viral load by targeting C/EBP-β.