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The localization of hepatitis C virus (HCV) proteins in cells leads to several problems. The translocase of outer mitochondrial membrane 70 (TOM70) is a mitochondrial import receptor. In this study, TOM70 expression was induced by HCV infection. TOM70 overexpression induced resistance to tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α)-mediated apoptosis but not to Fas-induced apoptosis in HepG2 cells. TOM70 was found to be induced by the HCV non-structural protein (NS)3/4A protein, and silencing of TOM70 decreased the levels of the NS3 and Mcl-1 proteins. These results indicate that TOM70 can directly interact with the NS3 protein. In hepatoma cells, silencing of TOM70 induced apoptosis and increased caspase-3/7 activity but did not modify caspase-8 and caspase-9 activity. TOM70 silencing-induced apoptosis was impaired in HCV NS3/4A protein-expressing cells. Thus, this study revealed a novel finding, that is, TOM70 is linked with the NS3 protein and the apoptotic response.


  • Journal of Medical Virology

    Journal of Medical Virology 83(5), 801-809, 2011-05

    Wiley-Liss, Inc.


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