Published online Jan 7, 2016. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v22.i1.176
Peer-review started: July 29, 2015
First decision: August 31, 2015
Revised: September 15, 2015
Accepted: October 26, 2015
Article in press: October 26, 2015
Published online: January 7, 2016
Approximately 350 million people worldwide are chronically infected by hepatitis B virus (HBV). HBV causes severe liver diseases including cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). In about 25% of affected patients, HBV infection proceeds to HCC. Therefore, the mechanisms by which HBV affects the host cell to promote viral replication and its pathogenesis have been the subject of intensive research efforts. Emerging evidence indicates that both autophagy and microRNAs (miRNAs) are involved in HBV replication and HBV-related hepatocarcinogenesis. In this review, we summarize how HBV induces autophagy, the role of autophagy in HBV infection, and HBV-related tumorigenesis. We further discuss the emerging roles of miRNAs in HBV infection and how HBV affects miRNAs biogenesis. The accumulating knowledge pertaining to autophagy and miRNAs in HBV replication and its pathogenesis may lead to the development of novel strategies against HBV infection and HBV-related HCC tumorigenesis.
Core tip: A number of reviews have described autophagy and microRNAs (miRNAs) in the hepatitis B virus (HBV)-related tumorigenesis. However, few reviews have provided insights into the relationships among autophagy, miRNAs, HBV biogenesis and hepatocarcinogenesis. In this review, we describe the emerging role of autophagy and miRNAs in HBV replication and pathogenesis. Recent studies are reviewed in the following sections: (1) the mechanism by which HBV induces autophagy; (2) the effect of HBV-induced autophagy on HBV replication; (3) the relationship between autophagy and HBV in HBV-related hepatocarcinogenesis; (4) the mechanism by which miRNAs affects HBV replication; and (5) the regulation of miRNAs biogenesis by HBV.