International journal of clinical and experimental medicine

HCV core protein represses the apoptosis and improves the autophagy of human hepatocytes.

PMID 26629077


This study aims to investigate the influence on human hepatocytes apoptosis and autophagy by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) core protein. QSG-7701, a human-derived non-neoplastic liver cell line, was transfected with PIRES-core vector that was a eukaryotic vector to express HCV core protein. Fluorescence microscope was used to observe the changes of nuclei in apoptosis cells by Annex in V-FITC/PI double staining. Flow cytometry was applied to detect the rate of cell apoptosis. Western blotting was used to detect the expression of HCV core protein, transcription factor nuclear factor-kappa B (NF-κB), autophagic biomarker microtubule associated protein 1 light chain 3 (LC3), and Beclin-1. The apoptosis rate was significantly lower (P < 0.05) in QSG7701/core group (transfected with PIRES-core vector, (1.34±0.07)%) than in QSG7701 group (no transfection, (2.35±0.11)%) and in QSG7701 QSG7701/pcDNA3.1 group (transfected with pcDNA3.1 vector, (2.58±0.1)%). NF-κB expression was up-expressed in QSG7701/core group than in QSG7701/pcDNA3.1 group and QSG7701 group (P < 0.05). LC3-II expression and Beclin-1 expression was significant higher in QSG7701/core group than in the QSG7701/pcDNA3.1 group and QSG7701 group (P < 0.05). HCV core protein can repress the apoptosis and improve the autophagy of QSG7701 through up-regulating NF-κB and Beclin-1 expression.