1887

Abstract

Chronic carriers of hepatitis B infection often harbour virus strains with mutations in the precore region. These mutations are temporally associated with the development of HBeAg loss and seroconversion to anti-HBe. The most common precore mutation is a stop codon at position 1896, but other mutations leading to abolished HBeAg secretion have been described. Here, a novel precore mutation introducing a lysine in the precore position 28, a sequence shared by non-human primates but not by other human isolates, is described. However, the insertion causes a frame-shift preventing the expression of HBeAg by introducing a stop codon 5 aa downstream of the mutation. Analysis of the predicted RNA secondary structure indicates that the insertion could occur without fatally affecting the stability of the stem–loop encapsidation signal.

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2006-02-01
2019-11-12
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