Calcium Signaling by HBx Protein in Hepatitis B Virus DNA Replication

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Science  14 Dec 2001:
Vol. 294, Issue 5550, pp. 2376-2378
DOI: 10.1126/science.294.5550.2376

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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infects more than 300 million people and is a leading cause of liver cancer and disease. The HBV HBx protein is essential for infection; HBx activation of Src is important for HBV DNA replication. In our study, HBx activated cytosolic calcium-dependent proline-rich tyrosine kinase–2 (Pyk2), a Src kinase activator. HBx activation of HBV DNA replication was blocked by inhibiting Pyk2 or calcium signaling mediated by mitochondrial calcium channels, which suggests that HBx targets mitochondrial calcium regulation. Reagents that increased cytosolic calcium substituted for HBx protein in HBV DNA replication. Thus, alteration of cytosolic calcium was a fundamental requirement for HBV replication and was mediated by HBx protein.

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