An antisense promoter within the hepatitis B virus X gene

I. Velhagen, C. Hilger, C. Lamberts, H. Zentgraf, C. H. Schroder*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Sequences of the Hepatitis B virus X (HBx) gene are preferentially retained on chromosomally integrated viral DNA and thereby the precore/core promoter as a part of its reading frame. The existence of a second promoter mapping to the same DNA region is suggested by an antisense (AS) RNA which has been described earlier by Standring's group. Here, the capacity of sequences upstream to this AS RNA to function as a bidirectional promoter was analyzed. On a cloned monomer of viral DNA a segment spanning the start codon of the HBx gene and a site within the HBx frame was replaced by a luciferase reporter gene (Photinus pyralis) plus a downstream polyadenylation signal of SV40 origin. Insertion in HBx and AS orientation allowed to compare the apparent strengths of the respective promoter activities. Both DNA constructs expressed luciferase to levels above the one induced by a reference plasmid expressing the gene under control of the SV40 promoter. In the context of a reporter plasmid a 241-bp subregion of the HBx gene with enhancer II in its center part functioned bidirectionally as AS and as core promoter. For the expression of a putative AS factor two effector plasmids driven by the autologous and a heterologous promoter, respectively, were established which stimulated in co-transfection experiments a c-myc target gene to a higher degree than a corresponding HBx effector construct.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-133
Number of pages7
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Antisense RNA
  • Bidirectional promoter
  • Hepatitis B virus
  • c-myc activation


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