We previously showed that SIRT1 deacetylase inhibits proliferation of hepatocellular carcinoma cells expressing hepatitis B virus (HBV) X protein (HBX), by destabilization of β-catenin. Here, we report another role for SIRT1 in HBX-mediated resistance to oxidative stress. Ectopic expression and enhanced activity of SIRT1 sensitize Hep3B cells stably expressing HBX to oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. SIRT1 mutant analysis showed that nuclear localization of SIRT1 is not required for sensitization of oxidation-mediated apoptosis. Furthermore, ectopic expression of SIRT1 and treatment with resveratrol (a SIRT1 activator) attenuated JNK phosphorylation, which is a prerequisite for resistance to oxidative stress-induced apoptosis. Conversely, suppression of SIRT1 activity with nicotinamide inhibited the effect of resveratrol on JNK phosphorylation, leading to restoration of resistance to oxidation-induced apoptosis. Taken together, these results suggest that up-regulation of SIRT1 under oxidative stress may be a therapeutic strategy for treatment of hepatocellular carcinoma cells related to HBV through inhibition of JNK activation.
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