Chronic viral hepatitis C is characterized by iron accumulation in the liver, and hepcidin regulates iron absorption. Hepatitis C virus (HCV) core+1/ARFP is a novel protein produced by a second functional ORF within the core gene. Here, using reporter assays and HCV bicistronic replicons, we show that, similarly to core, core+1/ARFP decreases hepcidin expression in hepatoma cells. The activator protein 1 (AP1) binding site of the human hepcidin promoter, shown here to be relevant to basal promoter activity and to the repression by core, is essential for the downregulation by core+1/ARFP while the previously described C/EBP (CCAAT/enhancer binding protein) and STAT (signal transducer and activator of transcription) sites are not. Consistently, expression of the AP1 components c-jun and c-fos obliterated the repressive effect of core and core+1/ARFP. In conclusion, we provide evidence that core+1/ARFP downregulates AP1-mediated transcription, providing new insights into the biological role of core+1/ARFP, as well as the transcriptional modulation of hepcidin, the main regulator of iron metabolism.