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Differential gene expression analysis of in vitro duck hepatitis B virus infected primary duck hepatocyte cultures

Sajith Nair, Devaki S Arathy, Aneesh Issac and Easwaran Sreekumar*

Author Affiliations

Molecular Virology Laboratory, Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Biotechnology (RGCB), Thycaud P.O., Thiruvananthapuram-695014, Kerala, India

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Virology Journal 2011, 8:363  doi:10.1186/1743-422X-8-363

Published: 23 July 2011



The human hepatitis B virus (HBV), a member of the hepadna viridae, causes acute or chronic hepatitis B, and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). The duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) infection, a dependable and reproducible model for hepadna viral studies, does not result in HCC unlike chronic HBV infection. Information on differential gene expression in DHBV infection might help to compare corresponding changes during HBV infection, and to delineate the reasons for this difference.


A subtractive hybridization cDNA library screening of in vitro DHBV infected, cultured primary duck hepatocytes (PDH) identified cDNAs of 42 up-regulated and 36 down-regulated genes coding for proteins associated with signal transduction, cellular respiration, transcription, translation, ubiquitin/proteasome pathway, apoptosis, and membrane and cytoskeletal organization. Those coding for both novel as well as previously reported proteins in HBV/DHBV infection were present in the library. An inverse modulation of the cDNAs of ten proteins, reported to play role in human HCC, such as that of Y-box binding protein1, Platelet-activating factor acetylhydrolase isoform 1B, ribosomal protein L35a, Ferritin, α-enolase, Acid α-glucosidase and Caspase 3, copper-zinc superoxide dismutase (CuZnSOD), Filamin and Pyruvate dehydrogenase, was also observed in this in vitro study.


The present study identified cDNAs of a number of genes that are differentially modulated in in vitro DHBV infection of primary duck hepatocytes. Further correlation of this differential gene expression in in vivo infection models would be valuable to understand the little known aspects of the hepadnavirus biology.