1887

Abstract

The near-full-length genome of a TT virus (TTV) (HEL32), closely related to the previously uncharacterized genotype 6, was cloned and sequenced. The genomic organization of HEL32 was compared to 41 published near-full-length TTV sequences representing 17 genotypes. In the majority of genomes, the open reading frame (ORF) 2 region was divided into two separate ORFs, 2a and 2b. The ORF2a sequence was conserved among all genotypes, while the ORF2b region showed more variability. The two corresponding putative proteins of HEL32 were expressed in prokaryotes and their antigenic potential was studied. IgM and IgG antibodies to the respective ORF2-encoded proteins, fp2a and fp2b, and the presence of TTV DNA were studied in the sera of 89 constitutionally healthy adults. By immunoblot using the small TTV proteins as antigens, strong IgM and IgG reactivities were found in 9 and 10% of subjects, respectively. Follow-up studies for 12–15 years of three subjects showed either a persistent coexistence of IgM and TTV DNA or the appearance of viral DNA regardless of pre-existing antibodies. The low prevalence of IgG could be due to the weak immunogenicity of these probably non-structural proteins or to a genotype-specific antibody response. By nested PCR of the conserved ORF2a region, the prevalence of TTV DNA was 85%. TTV genotype 6 sequences were found by specific PCR in 3 of 35 (8·6%) subjects. The low prevalence of TTV IgG compared to the high TTV DNA prevalence, the coexistence of antibodies and viral DNA and the appearance of TTV DNA regardless of pre-existing antibodies suggest that the B-cell immunity against these minor TTV proteins would not be cross protective.

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2002-05-01
2020-07-10
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