Aflatoxin B1 inhibits the type 1 interferon response pathway via STAT1 suggesting another mechanism of hepatocellular carcinoma

Patrick W. Narkwa, David J. Blackbourn, Mohamed Mutocheluh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Aflatoxin B1 (AFB1) contamination of food is very high in most sub-Saharan African countries. AFB1 is known to cause hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) by inducing mutation in the tumour suppressor gene TP53. The number of new HCC cases is high in West Africa with an accompanying high mortality. The type I interferon (IFN) pathway of the innate immune system limits viral infections and exerts its anti-cancer property by up-regulating tumour suppressor activities and pro-apoptotic pathways. Indeed, IFN-α is reported to show significant protective effects against hepatic fibrogenesis and carcinogenesis. However, the mechanism behind AFB1 deregulation of the type I interferon (IFN) signalling pathway, with consequent HCC is largely unknown. This current study seeks to test the hypothesis that AFB1 inhibits the type I IFN response by directly interfering with key signalling proteins and thus increase the risk of HCC in humans. Methods: We evaluated the effects of AFB1 on the type I IFN signalling pathway using IFN stimulated response element (ISRE)-based luciferase reporter gene assay. In addition, the effects of AFB1 on the transcript levels of JAK1, STAT1 and OAS3 were assessed by real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and confirmed by immunoblot assay. Results: Our results indicated that AFB1 inhibited the type I IFN signalling pathway in human hepatoma cell line HepG2 cells by suppressing the transcript levels of JAK1, STAT1 and OAS3. AFB1 also decreased the accumulation of STAT1 protein. Conclusion: The inhibition of the type I IFN anti-cancer response pathway by AFB1 suggest a novel mechanism by which AFB1 may induce hepatocellular carcinoma in humans.

Original languageEnglish
Article number17
JournalInfectious Agents and Cancer
Volume12
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Mar 2017

Keywords

  • Aflatoxin B1
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • HepG2 cells
  • ISRE
  • JAK1
  • STAT1
  • Type I interferon pathway

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