Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection and alcoholism are major public health problems worldwide, contributing to the development of end-stage liver disease. Alcohol intake affects HBV infection pathogenesis and treatment outcomes. HBV-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) play an important role in HBV clearance. Many previous studies have focused on alcohol-induced impairments of the immune response. However, it is not clear whether alcohol alters the presentation of HBV peptide-major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class I complexes on infected hepatocytes resulting in escape of its recognition by CTLs. Hence, the focus of this study was to investigate the mechanisms by which ethanol metabolism affects the presentation of CTL epitope on HBV-infected hepatocytes. As demonstrated here, although continuous cell exposure to acetaldehyde-generating system (AGS) increased HBV load in HepG2.2.15 cells, it decreased the expression of HBV core peptide 18–27-human leukocyte antigen-A2complex (CTL epitope) on the cell surface. Moreover, we observed AGS-induced suppression of chymotrypsin-and trypsin-like proteasome activities necessary for peptide processing by proteasome as well as a decline in IFNγ-stimulated immunoproteasome (IPR) function and expression of PA28 activator and immunoproteasome subunits LMP7 and LMP2. Furthermore, IFNγ-induced activation of peptide-loading complex (PLC) components, such as transporter associated with antigen processing (TAP1) and tapasin, were suppressed by AGS. The attenuation of IPR and PLC activation was attributed to AGS-triggered impairment of IFNγ signaling in HepG2.2.15 cells. Collectively, all these downstream events reduced the display of HBV peptide-MHC class I complexes on the hepatocyte surface, which may suppress CTL activation and the recognition of CTL epitopes on HBV-expressing hepatocytes by immune cells, thereby leading to persistence of liver inflammation. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Our study shows that in HBV-expressing HepG2.2.15 cells, acetaldehyde alters HBV peptide processing by suppressing chymotrypsin-and trypsin-like proteasome activities and decreases IFNγ-stimulated immunoproteasome function and expression of PA28 activator and immunoproteasome subunits. It also suppresses IFNγ-induced activation of peptide-loading complex (PLC) components due to impairment of IFNγ signaling via the JAK-STAT1 pathway. These acetaldehyde-induced dysfunctions reduced the display of HBV peptide-MHC class I complexes on the hepatocyte surface, thereby leading to persistence of HBV infection.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Journal||American Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology|
|State||Published - Aug 2019|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physiology (medical)