Expression of the granzyme B inhibitors, human proteinase inhibitor 9 (PI-9), or the murine orthologue, serine proteinase inhibitor 6 (SPI-6), confers resistance to CTL or NK killing by perforin- and granzyme-dependent effector mechanisms. In light of prior studies indicating that virally infected hepatocytes are selectively resistant to this CTL effector mechanism, the present studies investigated PI-9 and SPI-6 expression in hepatocytes and hepatoma cells in response to adenoviral infection and to cytokines produced during antiviral immune responses. Neither PI-9 nor SPI-6 expression was detected by immunoblotting in uninfected murine or human hepatocytes. Similarly, human Huh-7 hepatoma cells were found to express only very low levels of PI-9 relative to levels detected in perforin- and granzyme-resistant CTL or lymphokine-activated killer cells. Following in vivo adenoviral infection or in vitro culture with IFN-αβ or IFN-γ, SPI-6 expression was induced in murine hepatocytes. Similarly, after culture with IFN-α, induction of PI-9 mRNA and protein expression was observed in human hepatocytes and Huh-7 cells. IFN-γ and TNF-α also induced 4- to 10-fold higher levels of PI-9 mRNA expression in Huh-7 cells, whereas levels of mRNA encoding a related serine proteinase inhibitor, proteinase inhibitor 8, were unaffected by culture of Huh-7 cells with IFN-α, IFN-γ, or TNF-α. These findings indicate that cytokines that promote antiviral cytopathic responses also regulate expression of the cytoprotective molecules, PI-9 and SPI-6, in hepatocytes that are potential targets of CTL and NK effector mechanisms.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Immunology and Allergy