Hepatitis B virus (HBV) integration events are profiled in liver tissues from hepatocellular carcinoma patients using a high-throughput HBV integration sequencing method and bioinformatics. HBV is often found to integrate in mitochondrial DNA.Hepatitis B virus (HBV) may integrate into the genome of infected cells and contribute to hepatocarcinogenesis. However, the role of HBV integration in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) development remains unclear. In this study, we apply a high-throughput HBV integration sequencing approach that allows sensitive identification of HBV integration sites and enumeration of integration clones. We identify 3339 HBV integration sites in paired tumour and non-tumour tissue samples from 7 patients with HCC. We detect 2107 clonally expanded integrations (1817 in tumour and 290 in non-tumour tissues), and a significant enrichment of clonal HBV integrations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) preferentially occurring in the oxidative phosphorylation genes (OXPHOS) and D-loop region. We also find that HBV RNA sequences are imported into the mitochondria of hepatoma cells with the involvement of polynucleotide phosphorylase (PNPASE), and that HBV RNA might have a role in the process of HBV integration into mtDNA. Our results suggest a potential mechanism by which HBV integration may contribute to HCC development.
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