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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Hepatitis C virus induces a mutator phenotype: enhanced mutations of immunoglobulin and protooncogenes.

Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a nonretroviral oncogenic RNA virus, which is frequently associated with hepatocellular carcinoma ( HCC) and B cell lymphoma. We demonstrated here that acute and chronic HCV infection caused a 5- to 10-fold increase in mutation frequency in Ig heavy chain, BCL-6, p53, and beta-catenin genes of in vitro HCV-infected B cell lines and HCV-associated peripheral blood mononuclear cells, lymphomas, and HCCs. The nucleotide-substitution pattern of p53 and beta-catenin was different from that of Ig heavy chain in HCV-infected cells, suggesting two different mechanisms of mutation. In addition, the mutated protooncogenes were amplified in HCV-associated lymphomas and HCCs, but not in lymphomas of nonviral origin or HBV-associated HCC. HCV induced error-prone DNA polymerase zeta, polymerase iota, and activation-induced cytidine deaminase, which together, contributed to the enhancement of mutation frequency, as demonstrated by the RNA interference experiments. These results indicate that HCV induces a mutator phenotype and may transform cells by a hit-and-run mechanism. This finding provides a mechanism of oncogenesis for an RNA virus.[1]


  1. Hepatitis C virus induces a mutator phenotype: enhanced mutations of immunoglobulin and protooncogenes. Machida, K., Cheng, K.T., Sung, V.M., Shimodaira, S., Lindsay, K.L., Levine, A.M., Lai, M.Y., Lai, M.M. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2004) [Pubmed]
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