ATM and ATR Expression Potentiates HBV Replication and Contributes to Reactivation of HBV Infection upon DNA Damage.Viruses 2019; 11(11)V
Chronic hepatitis B virus infection (CHB) caused by the hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the most common viral infections in the world. Reactivation of HBV infection is a life-threatening condition observed in patients with CHB receiving chemotherapy or other medications. Although HBV reactivation is commonly attributed to immune suppression, other factors have long been suspected to play a role, including intracellular signaling activated in response to DNA damage. We investigated the effects of DNA-damaging factors (doxorubicin and hydrogen peroxide) on HBV reactivation/replication and the consequent DNA-damage response. Dose-dependent activation of HBV replication was observed in response to doxorubicin and hydrogen peroxide which was associated with a marked elevation in the mRNA levels of ataxia-telangiectasia mutated (ATM) and ATM- and RAD3-related (ATR) kinases. Downregulation of ATM or ATR expression by shRNAs substantially reduced the levels of HBV RNAs and DNA. In contrast, transcriptional activation of ATM or ATR using CRISPRa significantly increased HBV replication. We conclude that ATM and ATR are essential for HBV replication. Furthermore, DNA damage leading to the activation of ATM and ATR transcription, results in the reactivation of HBV replication.