1887

Abstract

Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is the only animal RNA virus that has an unbranched rod-like genome with ribozyme activity and is replicated by host RNA polymerase. HDV RNA recombination was previously demonstrated in patients and in cultured cells by analysis of a region corresponding to the C terminus of the delta antigen (HDAg), the only viral-encoded protein. Here, a whole-genome recombination map of HDV was constructed using an experimental system in which two HDV-1 sequences were co-transfected into cultured cells and the recombinants were analysed by sequencing of cloned reverse transcription-PCR products. Fifty homologous recombinants with 60 crossovers mapping to 22 junctions were identified from 200 analysed clones. Small HDAg chimeras harbouring a junction newly detected in the recombination map were then constructed. The results further indicated that the genome-replication level of HDV was sensitive to the sixth amino acid within the N-terminal 22 aa of HDAg. Therefore, the recombination map established in this study provided a tool for not only understanding HDV RNA recombination, but also elucidating the related mechanisms, such as molecular elements responsible for the trans-activation levels of the small HDAg.

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2015-12-01
2020-03-31
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