Hepatitis C virus (HCV) type 4 is the predominant genotype found throughout the Middle East and parts of Africa, often in association with high population prevalence as in Egypt. To investigate more fully its evolutionary relationship with other genotypes of HCV, and to study its overall genome organization, we have determined the entire sequence encompassing the coding region of the genotype 4a isolate ED43, obtained from an HCV-infected individual from Egypt. The sequence of ED43 contained a single open reading frame encoding a polyprotein of 3008 amino acids (aa), smaller than that reported for other HCV genotypes which vary from 3010 aa to 3037 aa. The nucleotide and amino acid sequences were compared with the full-length sequences already reported for genotypes 1a, 1b, 1c, 2a, 2b, 2c, 3a, 3b and those of isolates JKO49 and JKO46 described as types 10a and 11a. The differences in length of the polyprotein originated in variable regions in the E2 and NS5A genes. The complete sequence of ED43 confirmed the classification of type 4 as a separate major genotype.


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