Insertional mutagenesis of growth related genes by hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA is presumed to play a role in hepatocarcinogenesis. Here, we report on insertional activation of the mevalonate kinase (MK) gene in the human hepatoma cell line PLC/PRF/5. Integration of HBV DNA dissociated the promoter and upstream regulatory elements of the gene from its coding sequences. This led to the over-expression of hybrid transcripts arising from an HBV promoter and the consequent over-production of functionally active mevalonate kinase. MK phosphorylates mevalonate, a major intermediate in the branched cholesterol/isoprenoid biosynthetic pathway. Isoprenylation is crucial to the functions of cellular proteins related to growth control, including the proto-oncogene ras. As the enzymes of these biosynthetic pathways are regulated at multiple points by negative feedback, both transcriptionally and at the protein level, the results discussed here support the idea that aberrant growth could result from deregulated overexpression of MK and, perhaps, other enzymes in the cholesterol pathway. These results invoke novel mechanisms by which cell transformation might occur.
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jan 1994|