Regulation of hepatitis B virus S gene promoter in transfected cell lines

Virology. 1988 Feb;162(2):362-8. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(88)90476-x.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) contains an enhancer element that activates the viral core and X gene promoters. To investigate the transcriptional regulation of the viral S gene promoter, we transfected SK-Hep1 cells with circularized forms of HBV DNAs and their enhancerless mutants. We have found that expression of the S gene, determined by measurement of the appearance of HBsAg in the media and by RNA analysis, is to a large extent enhancer-dependent. This observation was further confirmed by analysis of a series of plasmids containing the chloramphenicol acetyl-transferase (CAT) gene under the control of the S gene promoter and the HBV enhancer element. Interestingly, in contrast to its behavior in SK-Hep1 cells, the S gene promoter is highly active in Alexander cells, in the absence of the enhancer element. This implies that activity of the S gene promoter is cell-type specific.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetyltransferases / genetics
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Enhancer Elements, Genetic*
  • Gene Expression Regulation
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / genetics*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Transfection


  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Acetyltransferases
  • Chloramphenicol O-Acetyltransferase