Hepatitis C virus-linked mitochondrial dysfunction promotes hypoxia-inducible factor 1α-mediated glycolytic adaptation

Maria Ripoli, Annamaria D'Aprile, Giovanni Quarato, Magdalena Sarasin-Filipowicz, Jérôme Gouttenoire, Rosella Scrima, Olga Cela, Domenico Boffoli, Markus H. Heim, Darius Moradpour, Nazzareno Capitanio, Claudia Piccoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection induces a state of oxidative stress by affecting mitochondrial-respiratory-chain activity. By using cell lines inducibly expressing different HCV constructs, we showed previously that viral-protein expression leads to severe impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and to major reliance on nonoxidative glucose metabolism. However, the bioenergetic competence of the induced cells was not compromised, indicating an efficient prosurvival adaptive response. Here, we show that HCV protein expression activates hypoxia-inducible factor 1 (HIF-1) by normoxic stabilization of its α subunit. In consequence, expression of HIF-controlled genes, including those coding for glycolytic enzymes, was significantly upregulated. Similar expression of HIF-controlled genes was observed in cell lines inducibly expressing subgenomic HCV constructs encoding either structural or nonstructural viral proteins. Stabilization and transcriptional activation of HIF-1α was confirmed in Huh-7.5 cells harboring cell culture-derived infectious HCV and in liver biopsy specimens from patients with chronic hepatitis C. The HCV-related HIF-1α stabilization was insensitive to antioxidant treatment. Mimicking an impairment of mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation by treatment of inducible cell lines with oligomycin resulted in stabilization of HIF-1α. Similar results were obtained by treatment with pyruvate, indicating that accumulation of intermediate metabolites is sufficient to stabilize HIF-1α. These observations provide new insights into the pathogenesis of chronic hepatitis C and, possibly, the HCV-related development of hepatocellular carcinoma.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)647-660
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Virology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology


Dive into the research topics of 'Hepatitis C virus-linked mitochondrial dysfunction promotes hypoxia-inducible factor 1α-mediated glycolytic adaptation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this