Role of hepatitis B virus genotype D and its mutants in occult hepatitis B infection

Sengupta, Sonali ; Panda, Subrat ; Acharya, Subrat ; Durgapal, Hemlata (2013) Role of hepatitis B virus genotype D and its mutants in occult hepatitis B infection The Indian Journal of Medical Research, 138 . pp. 329-39. ISSN 0971-5916

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Background and objectives: Non-detection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) envelope protein (hepatitis B surface antigen, HBsAg) in a chronically HBV infected individual has been described as occult infection. One possible reason for this phenotype is alteration in large (L-HBsAg) to small (S-HBsAg) envelope protein ratio associated with reduced or non secretion of HBsAg. This results in quantitative levels of serum HBsAg below the detection limit of enzyme immunoassays. Genotype D of HBV has a characteristic 33 nucleotide (nt) deletion upstream of the pre-S2/S promoter. This deletion may reduce HBsAg secretion in occult infection patients infected with genotype D HBV. Additional deletions in the pre-S2/S promoter may further aggravate reduced HBsAg secretion in patients infected with genotype D HBV. Thus, the aim of the present study was to determine the role of genotype D specific 33nt deletion and additional pre-S2/S promoter deletions in causing reduced or no secretion of HBsAg, in occult infection. Since these deletions overlap virus polymerase, their effect on virus replication was also investigated. Methods: We examined the in vitro expression of HBsAg, ratio of cure and 'e' antigen (HBcAg/HBeAg), their secretion and virus replication, using overlength 1.3 mer/1.86 mer genotype A replicons, and genotype D replicons with and without additional pre-S2/S promoter deletions from cases of occult infection. Results: Genotype D replicon showed a decrease in HBsAg secretion compared to the wild-type genotype A. Genotype D replicons carrying additional pre-S2/S promoter deletions, showed further reduction in HBsAg secretion, demonstrated presence of intracellular HBcAg/HBeAg, virus replication intermediates and 'e' antigen secretion. Interpretation and conclusions: The characteristic 33 nt deletion of genotype D HBV reduces HBsAg secretion. Additional pre-S2/S promoter deletions may further diminish HBsAg secretion, leading to occult infection. Pre-S2/S promoter deletions do not affect HBV replication.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to Wolters Kluwer
ID Code:128971
Deposited On:22 Nov 2022 09:46
Last Modified:22 Nov 2022 09:46

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