Interferon prevents formation of replication-competent hepatitis B virus RNA-containing nucleocapsids

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2005 Jul 12;102(28):9913-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0504273102. Epub 2005 Jul 1.


We have previously shown that IFN-beta inhibits hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication by noncytolytic mechanisms that either destabilize pregenomic (pg)RNA-containing capsids or prevent their assembly. Using immortalized murine hepatocyte cell lines stably transfected with a doxycycline (dox)-inducible HBV replication system, we now show that replication-competent pgRNA-containing capsids are not produced when the cells are pretreated with IFN-beta before HBV expression is induced with dox. Furthermore, the turnover rate of preformed HBV RNA-containing capsids is not changed in the presence of IFN-beta or IFN-gamma under conditions in which further pgRNA synthesis is inhibited by dox removal. In summary, these results demonstrate that types 1 and 2 IFN activate hepatocellular mechanism(s) that prevent the formation of replication-competent HBV capsids and, thereby, inhibit HBV replication.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Blotting, Southern
  • Capsid / drug effects*
  • Cell Line
  • Doxycycline
  • Hepatitis B virus / metabolism*
  • Interferon-beta / pharmacology*
  • Mice
  • Plasmids / genetics
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication / drug effects*


  • pgRNA
  • RNA
  • Interferon-beta
  • Doxycycline