Modulation of Wnt signaling pathway by hepatitis B virus
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has a global distribution and is one of the leading causes of hepatocellular carcinoma. The precise mechanism of pathogenicity of HBV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is not yet fully understood. Viral-related proteins are known to take control of several cellular pathways like Wnt/β-catenin, TGF-β, Raf/MAPK and ROS for the virus’s own replication. This affects cellular persistence, multiplication, migration, alteration and genomic instability. The Wnt/FZD/β-catenin signaling pathway plays a significant role in the pathology and physiology of the liver and has been identified as a main factor in HCC development. The role of β-catenin is linked mainly to the canonical pathway of the signaling system. Progression of liver diseases is known to be accompanied by disturbances in β-catenin expression (mainly overexpression), with its cytoplasmic or nuclear translocation. In recent years, studies have documented that the HBV X protein and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) can act as pathogenic factors that are involved in the modulation and induction of canonical Wnt signaling pathway. In the present review we explore the interaction of HBV genome products with components of the Wnt/β–catenin signaling pathway that results in the enhancement of the pathway and leads to hepatocarcinogenesis.
We are thankful to Mr. Seth Fortmann (University of Alabama, School of Medicine, USA) for editing the manuscript and Mr. Muhammad Shehzad Latif (Floriculture lab, Centre of Excellence in Molecular Biology, University of the Punjab) for helping us with the figures.
Compliance with ethical standards
The study is not funded by any company or funding agency.
Conflict of interest
All four authors have no institutional or financial competing interests.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.
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