Hepatitis C virus (HCV) type K3a (type 3a), which represents a minor genotype in Europe, the U.S.A. and Asia, appears to be significantly distributed throughout Australia and Brazil. We amplified the HCV-K3a/650 genome by reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in ten overlapping fragments and determined the nucleotide sequences. The total sequence was 9454 bases in length and contained an open reading frame of 3021 amino acids, which is 10 or 11 amino acids longer than in HCV type 1 and 12 amino acids shorter than the sequence of type 2. These differences were due to the different lengths of both the putative envelope protein E2 and the NS5A regions, whose nucleotide lengths differ between types 1 and 2 also. Phylogenetic analysis of the putative core region and a portion of NS5B encoding the Gly-Asp-Asp motif indicated that HCV-K3a closely matched the corresponding type 3a group. The deletion and addition of amino acids in both E2 and NS5A may be associated with their pathobiological features.


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