1887

Abstract

Recently, the isolation of a novel virus, GB virus C (GBV-C), associated with cryptogenic hepatitis has been reported. Following the molecular cloning of this virus genome, it became apparent that the genomic sequence did not encode a protein resembling a nucleocapsid or core-like protein similar to those observed in other flaviviruses, pestiviruses, hepatitis C virus (HCV) and GB virus B. Similar findings were subsequently observed in the cloning of two viral genomes representing isolates of GBV-C, namely hepatitis G virus (HGV). To verify the presence or absence of a viral nucleocapsid protein, identify conserved protein motifs and determine the overall genomic variability, an additional virus isolate has been characterized. Here we report the full-length genomic sequence of GBV-C(EA), isolated from an East African suffering from acute non-A-E hepatitis. GBV-C(EA) was compared with the prototype West African isolate (GBV-C) and the two HGV isolates from the United States. The analyses demonstrate several characteristics of these novel viruses. (1) The degree of variability within the 5′ nontranslated region (NTR) approximates that observed between HCV isolates. (2) The nucleotide sequence of the coding region and the 3′ NTR is highly conserved between these isolates, in contrast to the extensive variability observed between HCV isolates from distinct geographical locations. (3) There is a high degree of amino acid conservation across the precursor polyproteins of these isolates; most striking is the lack of ‘hypervariable’ regions within the envelope proteins. (4) There appears to be no nucleocapsid protein near the amino terminus of the GBV-C/HGV polyproteins.

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1996-11-01
2021-10-22
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