1887

Abstract

Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an important but extremely understudied human pathogen. Genotypes 1 and 2 are restricted to humans, whereas genotypes 3 and 4 are zoonotic, infecting both humans and pigs. This report describes, for the first time, the successful rescue of infectious HEV and from cloned cDNA of a genotype 4 human HEV (strain TW6196E). The complete genomic sequence of the TW6196E virus was determined and a full-length cDNA clone (pHEV-4TW) was assembled. Capped RNA transcripts from the pHEV-4TW clone were replication competent in Huh7 cells and infectious in HepG2/C3A cells. Pigs inoculated intrahepatically with capped RNA transcripts from pHEV-4TW developed an active infection, as evidenced by faecal virus shedding and seroconversion, indicating the successful rescue of infectious genotype 4 HEV and cross-species infection of pigs by a genotype 4 human HEV. To demonstrate the utility of the genotype 4 HEV infectious clone and to evaluate the potential viral determinant(s) for species tropism, four intergenotypic chimeric clones were constructed by swapping various genomic regions between genotypes 1 and 4, and genotypes 1 and 3. All four chimeric clones were replication competent in Huh7 cells, but only the two chimeras with sequences swapped between genotypes 1 and 4 human HEVs produced viruses capable of infecting HepG2/C3A cells. None of the four chimeras was able to establish a robust infection in pigs. The availability of a genotype 4 HEV infectious clone affords an opportunity to delineate the molecular mechanisms of HEV cross-species infection in the future.

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2012-10-01
2021-07-24
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