Hepatitis B virus (HBV) transgenic mice that replicate HBV in the liver generally do not exhibit gross liver pathology, while maintaining a high level (10(7) or greater) of viral titer in the blood. We have used this model to determine the minimum effects of HBV replication in the liver on cellular gene transcription, using cDNA microarrays. cDNA microarray data from sets of HBV versus control cDNA microarrays revealed a very small impact of HBV on the cellular transcriptome. After deletion of genes that were variable in control cDNA microarrays and applying significance analysis of microarrays (SAM), an application to detect statistically significantly regulated genes, we identified 18 upregulated genes and 14 downregulated genes. Most of the regulated genes show a change in expression with respect to control of less than 40% in either direction, demonstrating small effects of HBV. The largest functional category for upregulated genes was lipid biosynthesis, in which ATP citrate lyase, fatty acid synthase, sterol regulatory element binding factor 2, and retinol binding protein 1 were all upregulated. The most strongly downregulated genes were in the cytochrome p450 group, particularly p450, 4a14. Several growth regulatory genes including cyclin D1, IGF binding protein 3, and PCNA were moderately upregulated. These data are the first to specifically identify enzymes involved in fatty acid and NADPH-electron transport pathways that are altered by the presence of HBV. The data also demonstrates that HBV is well adapted to non-cytopathic replication in hepatocytes. Cellular genes expected to be affected by viral secretion from membranes are clearly upregulated, and upregulation of growth regulatory genes may facilitate replacement of dying hepatocytes during persistent infection.