Hepatitis B virus X gene product acts as a transactivator in vivo

Clara Balsano, Olivier Billet, Myriam Bennoun, Catherine Cavard, Alain Zider, Gisele Grimber, Gioacchino Natoli, Pascale Briand, Massimo Levrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


It has previously been shown that the hepatitis B virus X gene product, pX, transactivates homologous and heterologous transcriptional regulatory sequences of viruses and various cellular genes in vitro. However, there is no evidence about the reproducibility and the relevance of this phenomenon in vivo. In this study we crossbred transgenic mice expressing the X gene under the control of the human antithrombin III (ATIII) gene regulatory sequences with transgenics carrying either the chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase or the LacZ bacterial reporter genes driven by the HIV1-LTR, which is known to be activated in trans by pX. Expression of pX in the liver stimulates the HIV1-LTR driven expression of both chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase and beta-galactosidase reporter genes in double transgenic mice. No detectable increase in chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase expression was observed in tissues, such as the spleen, brain and heart, that do not express pX. Our results confirm the transactivating properties of pX in vivo for the first time and support the hypothesis that pX might indeed modify gene expression in HBV-infected hepatocytes and influence viral pathogenesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-109
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • Hepatitis B virus
  • HIV-1 LTR
  • Transactivation
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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