Different effects of three interferons L on Toll-like receptor-related gene expression in HepG2 cells

Cytokine. 2013 Nov;64(2):577-83. doi: 10.1016/j.cyto.2013.08.010. Epub 2013 Sep 13.


IFNL1 (IL29), IFNL2 (IL28A) and IFNL3 (IL28B) might play important roles in anti-viral defense. IFNL3 genotypes have been shown to be associated with hepatitis C spontaneous and treatment-induced viral clearance. The effects of IFNL1, IFNL2 and IFNL3 on innate immunity including Toll-like receptor (TLR)-related pathway in human hepatocytes were examined. After G418 screening, we established the human hepatoma stable cell lines HepG2-IL28A, HepG2-IL28B, and HepG2-IL29, expressing IFNL2, IFNL3, and IFNL1 in conditioned medium, respectively, and a control cell line, HepG2-pcDNA3.1. We performed real-time RT-PCR to investigate 84 Toll-like receptor-related gene expressions in triplicate and, using ddCt methods, compared these gene expressions in each cell line. IFNL2, IFNL3 and IFNL1 were respectively detected by ELISA in HepG2-IL28A, HepG2-IL28B and HepG2-IL29. Compared to HepG2-pcDNA3.1 cells, 17 (20.2%), 11 (13.0%) and 16 genes (19.0%) were up-regulated 1.5-fold or more (p<0.05); 10 (11.9%), 2 (2.3%) and 10 genes (11.9%) were 1.5-fold or more down-regulated (p<0.05) in HepG2-IL28A, HepG2-IL28B and HepG2-IL29, respectively. EIF2AK2 and SARM1 were up-regulated among all cells. Of interest, TLR3, TLR4 and related molecules CXCL10 (IP10), IL6, EIF2K2, IFNB1, and IRF1, important genes in the progression of HCV-related pathogenesis and antiviral activities against HCV, in HepG2-IL28B, presented different profiles from those of HepG2-IL28A and HepG2-IL29. IFNL3 induces interferon-stimulated genes (ISGs) that are reportedly associated with the progression of HCV-related pathogenesis and antiviral activities against HCV. IFNL is a powerful modulator of innate immune response and it is supposed that the 3 IFNLs may play different roles in the antiviral activity against HBV and HCV.

Keywords: Hepatitis C virus; IL28B; ISGs; Innate immune response; Toll-like receptor.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antiviral Agents / pharmacology
  • Down-Regulation / drug effects
  • Down-Regulation / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Neoplastic / drug effects*
  • Hep G2 Cells
  • Hepacivirus / drug effects
  • Hepatitis B virus / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Interleukins / pharmacology*
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / genetics
  • Toll-Like Receptors / metabolism*
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / genetics
  • Virus Replication / drug effects


  • Antiviral Agents
  • Interleukins
  • Toll-Like Receptors