BACKGROUND.: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core and nonstructural (NS) 3 proteins induce inflammation and immunity through a Toll-like receptor (TLR) 2-dependent pathway. Individuals with the R753Q single-nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) in the TLR2 gene have increased the risk of allograft failure after liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis C. METHODS.: To test the hypothesis that R753Q SNP impairs TLR2 recognition of HCV proteins, a series of in vitro experiments were performed wherein stable clones of wild-type TLR2-deficient human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells and HEK293 cells transfected with wild-type (HEK293-TLR2) or variant TLR2 genes (HEK293-TLR2-R753Q) were stimulated with HCV core and NS3 proteins. Cellular activation was assessed by nuclear factor-kappa B-driven luciferase activity, cytokine secretion, and gene upregulation. RESULTS.: Compared with TLR2-deficient HEK293 cells, HEK293-TLR2 cells had marked nuclear factor-kappa B-driven luciferase activity, had modest to marked upregulation in TLR2 signaling-associated genes, and secreted large quantities of interleukin-8 during exposure to HCV core and NS3 proteins. In contrast, HEK293-TLR2-R753Q cells did not respond to stimulation with HCV and behaved similarly like TLR2-deficient HEK293 cells. CONCLUSION.: R753Q SNP impairs TLR2-mediated immune recognition of HCV core and NS3 proteins. This biologic defect may account for the predisposition of patients to develop allograft failure after liver transplantation for chronic hepatitis C.
- Hepatitis C virus
- Liver transplantation
- Single-nucleotide polymorphism
ASJC Scopus subject areas