Chapter 4 Hepatitis B Virus X Protein: Molecular Functions and Its Role in Virus Life Cycle and Pathogenesis

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Abstract

Despite the existence of effective vaccines, HBV infection remains a major health problem with 2 billion people infected worldwide. Among them, 350 million are chronically infected, a major risk factor for the development of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). There is a strong need to develop new and efficient treatments against chronic infection and HCC. It is therefore important to understand HBV replication and persistence as well as the role of HBV in liver carcinogenesis. This chapter focuses on the regulatory protein HBx which is thought to play a central role in HBV regulation and pathogenesis. HBx has been shown to modulate a myriad of viral and cellular functions, yet its role in virus replication and pathogenesis in infected individuals remains far from being completely understood.

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