Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a global health concern. Viral and host factors orchestrate
the natural history of HBV infection, but the impact of host factors that influence the clinical
course of the disease remains poorly understood. The aim of this study was to identify host factors
crucial to the HBV life cycle by conducting a meta-analysis utilizing public microarray datasets.
Methods: An integrative meta-analysis of expression data from two microarray datasets of HBVinfected
liver tissues and healthy uninfected livers was conducted to identify gene expression signatures
and overlapping biological processes modulating infection/disease.
Results: Using integrative meta-analysis of expression data (INMEX), we identified across two
datasets a total of 841 genes differentially expressed during HBV infection, including 473 upregulated
and 368 downregulated genes. In addition, through functional enrichment and pathway
analysis, we observed that Jak-STAT, TLR, and NF-κB are the most relevant signaling pathways
in chronic HBV infection. The network-based meta-analysis identified NEDD8, SKP2, JUN, and
HIF1A as the most highly ranked hub genes.
Conclusion: Thus, these results may provide valuable information about novel potential host factors
modulating chronic HBV infection. Such factors may serve as potential targets for the development
of novel therapeutics such as activin receptor-like kinase inhibitors.