Insights into Hepatitis B Virus DNA Integration
Hepatitis B virus (HBV), which was discovered in 1965, is a threat to global public health. HBV infects human hepatocytes and leads to acute and chronic liver diseases, and there is no cure. In cells infected by HBV, viral DNA can be integrated into the cellular genome. HBV DNA integration is a complicated process during the HBV life cycle. Although HBV integration normally results in replication-incompetent transcripts, it can still act as a template for viral protein expression. Of note, it is a primary driver of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Recently, with the development of detection methods and research models, the molecular biology and the pathogenicity of HBV DNA integration have been better revealed. Here we review the advances in the research of HBV DNA integration, including molecular mechanisms, detection methods, research models, the effects on host and viral gene expression, the role of HBV integrations in the pathogenesis of HCC, and potential treatment strategies. Finally, we discuss possible future research prospects of HBV DNA integration.