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Open Access Highly Accessed Review

Regulation of gene expression by microRNA in HCV infection and HCV–mediated hepatocellular carcinoma

Priyanka Gupta1, Murray J Cairns2 and Nitin K Saksena3*

Author Affiliations

1 Retroviral Genetics Division, Centre for Virus Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, University of Sydney, Darcy Road, Sydney, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia

2 School of Biomedical Sciences and Pharmacy, Faculty of Health and the Hunter Medical Research Institute, The University of Newcastle, Callaghan NSW 2308, Newcastle, Australia

3 Centre for Virus Research, Westmead Millennium Institute, Darcy Road, Sydney, Westmead NSW 2145, Australia

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Virology Journal 2014, 11:64  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-11-64

Published: 1 April 2014


MicroRNA (miRNA) exert a profound effect on Hepatitis C virus (HCV) replication and on the manifestation of HCV-associated hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). miR-122 in particular, is highly enriched in liver and has been shown to interact with HCV, suggesting this virus has evolved to subvert and manipulate the host gene silencing machinery in order to support its life cycle. It is therefore likely that miR-122 and other miRNAs play an important role in the pathophysiology of HCV infection. The changes in post-transcriptional gene regulation by the miRNAs may play a key role in the manifestation of chronic liver disease and hepatocellular carcinoma. Understanding of HCV-host miRNA interactions will ultimately lead to the design of therapeutic modalities against HCV infection and HCV-mediated HCC and may also provide important biomarkers that direct treatment options. Here, we review the current knowledge on the role of miRNA and gene expression on HCV infection and hepatocellular carcinoma, in addition to the possible role of miRNA as future therapeutic targets.

Hepatitis C virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; miRNA; mRNA