1887

Abstract

We characterized the full-length genomes of 16 distinct hepatitis C virus genotype 1 (HCV-1) isolates. Among them, four represented the first full-length genomes for subtypes 1d (QC103), 1i (QC181), 1j (QC329) and 1k (QC82), and another four corresponded to subtypes 1c (QC165), 1g (QC78), 1h (QC156) and 1e (QC172). Both QC196 and QC87 were assigned into a new subtype 1m, and QC113 and QC74 into another new subtype 1n. The remaining four (QC60, QC316, QC152 and QC180) did not classify among the established subtypes and corresponded to four new lineages. Subtypes 1j, 1k, 1m, 1n and the unclassified isolate QC60 were identified in Haitian immigrants. In the updated HCV nomenclature of 2005, a total of 12 subtypes of HCV-1 were designated. Including the data from the present study, all but subtype 1f now have their full-length genomes defined. Further analysis of partial NS5B sequences available in GenBank denoted a total of 21 unclassified lineages, indicating the taxonomic complexity of HCV-1. Among them, six have had their full-length genomes characterized. Based on the available full-length genome sequences, a timescale phylogenetic tree was reconstructed which estimated important time points in the evolution of HCV-1. It revealed that subtype 1a diverged from its nearest relatives 135 years ago and subtype 1b diverged from its nearest relatives 112 years ago. When subtypes 1a, 1j, 1k, 1m, 1n and six close relatives (all but one from Haitian immigrants) were considered as a whole, the divergence time was 176 years ago. This diversification was concurrent with the time period when the transatlantic slave trade was active. When taking all the HCV-1 isolates as a single lineage, the divergence time was 326 years ago. This analysis suggested the existence of a recent common ancestor for subtype 1a and the Haitian variants; a co-origin for subtypes 1b, 1i and 1d was also implied.

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2014-07-01
2019-08-22
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