Hepatitis C Virus Core Protein Down-Regulates p21Waf1/Cip1 and Inhibits Curcumin-Induced Apoptosis through MicroRNA-345 Targeting in Human Hepatoma Cells

Tzu-Yue Shiu, Shih-Ming Huang, Yu-Lueng Shih, Heng-Cheng Chu, Wei-Kuo Chang, Tsai-Yuan Hsieh

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34 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) has been reported to regulate cellular microRNAs. The HCV core protein is considered to be a potential oncoprotein in HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma, but HCV core-modulated cellular microRNAs are unknown. The HCV core protein regulates p21Waf1/Cip1 expression. However, the mechanism of HCV core-associated p21Waf1/Cip1 regulation remains to be further clarified. Therefore, we attempted to determine whether HCV core-modulated cellular microRNAs play an important role in regulating p21Waf1/Cip1 expression in human hepatoma cells. Methods: Cellular microRNA profiling was investigated in core-overexpressing hepatoma cells using TaqMan low density array. Array data were further confirmed by TaqMan real-time qPCR for single microRNA in core-overexpressing and full-length HCV replicon-expressing cells. The target gene of microRNA was examined by reporter assay. The gene expression was determined by real-time qPCR and Western blotting. Apoptosis was examined by annexin V-FITC apoptosis assay. Cell cycle analysis was performed by propidium iodide staining. Cell proliferation was analyzed by MTT assay. Results: HCV core protein up- or down-regulated some cellular microRNAs in Huh7 cells. HCV core-induced microRNA-345 suppressed p21Waf1/Cip1 gene expression through targeting its 3′ untranslated region in human hepatoma cells. Moreover, the core protein inhibited curcumin-induced apoptosis through p21Waf1/Cip1-targeting microRNA-345 in Huh7 cells. Conclusion and Significance: HCV core protein enhances the expression of microRNA-345 which then down-regulates p21Waf1/Cip1 expression. It is the first time that HCV core protein has ever been shown to suppress p21Waf1/Cip1 gene expression through miR-345 targeting. © 2013 Shiu et al.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS One
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • core protein
  • curcumin
  • cyclin dependent kinase inhibitor 1
  • microRNA
  • microRNA 345
  • unclassified drug
  • 3' untranslated region
  • apoptosis
  • article
  • cell cycle
  • cell proliferation
  • cell strain
  • cell strain Huh7
  • controlled study
  • down regulation
  • gene overexpression
  • gene targeting
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • hepatoma cell
  • human
  • human cell
  • nonhuman
  • p21Waf1Cip1 gene
  • protein expression
  • replicon
  • upregulation


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