Supplementary Material for: Interferon-Induced Proteins with Tetratricopeptide Repeats 1 and 2 Are Cellular Factors That Limit Hepatitis B Virus Replication

Interferon (IFN)-α is able to stimulate many cellular genes and inhibit the replication of various viruses. However, it is unknown whether some IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs) specifically inhibit hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication. Therefore, we attempted to identify ISGs with antiviral activities against HBV. Knockdown of IFN-induced proteins with tetratricopeptide repeats 1 and 2 (IFIT1 and IFIT2) in HepG2.2.15 led to markedly increased HBV replication. Consistently, this effect was verified by transient transfection with a replication-competent HBV clone in HepG2 and Huh7. However, IFN-α stimulation could override the knockdown by siRNAs and enhance the expression of IFIT1 and IFIT2, leading to reduced HBV replication. Silencing of IFIT1 or IFIT2 decreased the expression of the corresponding genes while other ISGs like MxA were not affected. Northern blot analysis showed that IFIT1 and IFIT2 knockdown slightly increased the levels of HBV 3.5, 2.4 and 2.1 kb transcripts, while IFIT1 and IFIT2 overexpression did not change their levels. Consistently, the reporter assays with HBV promoters demonstrated that IFIT1 and IFIT2 differentially but only modestly regulated HBV promoter activity. Thus, IFIT1 and IFIT2 contribute significantly to the regulation of HBV replication, likely at both transcriptional and posttranscriptional steps.

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