1887

Abstract

The viral factors associated with the development of fulminant hepatitis B are not fully understood. We recently found four unique mutations [G to A at nucleotide 1742 (G1742A), C1766T, T1768A and T1809C] in the basal core promoter (BCP) region of a genotype A hepatitis B virus (HBV) strain (FH) obtained from a 53-year-old man with fatal fulminant hepatitis. To elucidate the association of the mutations of the FH genome with the disease, we constructed a 1.3-fold FH genome and its five variants by replacing one or two mutated nucleotides with wild-type nucleotide(s) via site-directed mutagenesis, and transfected human hepatoma cells (HepG2/C3A) with the constructs. There were no discernible differences between FH and two variants (FH_A1742G and FH_C1809T) with regard to viral replication and protein expression. However, in comparison to three other variants (FH_T1766C, FH_A1768T and FH_T1766C/A1768T) with wild-type nucleotide(s) at 1766 and/or 1768, the FH genome exhibited a 2.5–5-fold enhancement of viral replication by heightened pregenomic RNA synthesis and a 1.5–2.5-fold reduction in the hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) synthesis by the downregulation of the precore mRNA level. An immunofluorescence analysis revealed the increased and predominant cytoplasmic localization of the core protein in the FH genome. The present study demonstrates that the C1766T/T1768A mutations in the BCP region of genotype A HBV enhance viral replication, downregulate HBeAg expression and are responsible for the predominant localization of the core protein in the cytoplasm, which are likely associated with the development of fulminant hepatitis.

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2016-10-13
2020-04-04
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