Genetic polymorphisms in the region of the interferon-λ genes (IFNL) associate with clearance of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. One of these polymorphisms, IFNL4 rs368234815, determines loss or gain of function of the IFNL4 gene by frameshift variation. The very same and a second one, IFNL3 rs4803217, are supposed to impact the expression of IFNL3: while IFNL4 rs368234815 is suggested to modulate IFNL3 transcription, IFNL3 rs4803217 is thought to alter IFNL3 mRNA stability. The latter process is believed to be partially driven by an HCV-induced ectopic expression of myosin heavy chain genes 7B and 7 and their coexpressed microRNAs mir499 and mir208B. These ideas are evidenced by functional investigations on peripheral blood mononuclear and hepatoma cells in culture. Our study aimed at exploring IFNL3 gene expression in clinical samples, i.e., in ex vivo derived liver tissue from patients with chronic hepatitis C (n = 57) and various other diseases (n = 56). By applying an assay designed to specifically quantify IFNL3 and discriminating paralogous IFNL2 transcripts, IFNL3 mRNA expression was not found to differ significantly between chronic hepatitis C and control samples. Among patients with chronic HCV infection,moreover, IFNL3 rs4803217 or IFNL4 rs368234815 minor alleles did not associate with reduced IFNL3 gene expression. Finally, myosin heavy chain genes 7B and 7 and corresponding microRNAs mir499 and mir208B were not found activated in liver in chronic HCV infection. Of note, detectability of MYH7 mRNA related to the procedure of liver biopsy sampling, as tissue obtained by direct punctation of the liver during laparoscopic inspection was less likely to contain MYH7 transcripts than samples acquired by percutaneous punctation. In conclusion, data on ex vivo derived liver tissue samples argue against an attenuating impact of IFNL3 rs4803217 or IFNL4 rs368234815 minor alleles on hepatic IFNL3 gene expression in vivo.
Amanzada, A., Reinhardt, L., Fey, D., Zeisberg, E. M., & Mihm, S. (2015). Hepatic Interferon-λ3 (IFNL3) Gene Expression Reveals Not to Be Attenuated in Non-Favorable IFNL3 rs4803217 or IFNL4 rs368234815 Minor Allele Carriers in Chronic Hepatitis C. PLoS ONE, 10(11). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0143783