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Viruses 2017, 9(6), 156; doi:10.3390/v9060156

The Role of cccDNA in HBV Maintenance

1
I. Department of Internal Medicine, Center for Internal Medicine, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Martinistr. 52, D-20246 Hamburg, Germany
2
German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), Hamburg-Lübeck-Borstel Site, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Ulrike Protzer and Michael Nassal
Received: 4 May 2017 / Revised: 16 June 2017 / Accepted: 19 June 2017 / Published: 21 June 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Hepatitis B Virus Research)
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [343 KB, uploaded 21 June 2017]   |  

Abstract

Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection continues to be a major health burden worldwide; it can cause various degrees of liver damage and is strongly associated with the development of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The molecular mechanisms determining HBV persistence are not fully understood, but these appear to be multifactorial and the unique replication strategy employed by HBV enables its maintenance in infected hepatocytes. Both the stability of the HBV genome, which forms a stable minichromosome, the covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA) in the hepatocyte nucleus, and the inability of the immune system to resolve chronic HBV infection are believed to be key mechanisms of HBV chronicity. Since a true cure of HBV requires clearance of intranuclear cccDNA from infected hepatocytes, understanding the mechanisms involved in cccDNA biogenesis, regulation and stability is mandatory to achieve HBV eradication. This review will summarize the state of knowledge on these mechanisms including the impact of current treatments on the cccDNA stability and activity. We will focus on events challenging cccDNA persistence in dividing hepatocytes. View Full-Text
Keywords: hepatitis B virus; cccDNA; animal models; human liver chimeric mice; cell proliferation hepatitis B virus; cccDNA; animal models; human liver chimeric mice; cell proliferation
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Allweiss, L.; Dandri, M. The Role of cccDNA in HBV Maintenance. Viruses 2017, 9, 156.

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