Hepatitis B virus genotype A rarely circulates as an HBe-minus mutant: possible contribution of a single nucleotide in the precore region.
ABSTRACT: The emergence of HBe-minus hepatitis B virus (HBV) mutants, usually through a UAG nonsense mutation at codon 28 of the precore region, helps the virus to survive the anti-HBe immune response of the host. Host and viral factors that predispose to the emergence of such mutants are not well characterized. The fact that the precore region forms a hairpin structure essential for the packaging of viral pregenomic RNA may explain the extremely high prevalence of the UAG mutation at codon 28. It converts a wobble U-G pair in the packaging signal between nucleotide 3 of codon 15 (CCU) and nucleotide 2 of codon 28 (UGG) into a U-A pair. Since genotype A of HBV has a CCC sequence at codon 15, the UAG mutation would, instead, disrupt a C-G pair present in the wild-type virus. This alteration was shown by transfection experiments to greatly compromise the packaging of pregenomic RNA. The implication of this finding was elucidated by molecular epidemiological studies. Genotype A was found to be the most prevalent genotype in the wild-type virus populations in France but was found in only 1 of the 46 isolates of HBe-minus mutants found there. These mutants were contributed chiefly by genotype D, the second most prevalent genotype in France, which is characterized by a CCU sequence at codon 15. The role of the single nucleotide at codon 15 was confirmed by the finding of the single genotype A isolate in which both wild-type and mutant viruses were present. Interestingly, nearly all of the mutants had a codon 15 sequence of CCU instead of the CCC present in the wild-type viruses. Our results suggest that genotype A of HBV rarely circulates as HBe-minus mutants, probably because of a requirement for a simultaneous sequence change at codon 15. These data, together with the virtual absence of genotype A in the Chinese samples examined, may provide some insights into the uneven prevalence of HBe-minus mutants in the world.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Mutations in the core promoter and precore regions of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome, notably the double substitution (AGG to TGA) at nt positions 1762-1764 in the core promoter, and the precore stop codon mutation G to A at nt 1896, can often explain the anti-HBe phenotype in chronic carriers. However, the A1896 mutation is restricted to HBV isolates that have T at nt 1858. The double substitution at positions 1762-1764 has been described to occur preferentially in patients infected with strains showing C instead of T at nt 1858. RESULTS: HBV DNAs from 29 anti-HBe Brazilian samples were characterized by nucleotide sequencing of PCR products from precore region. Among them, 18 isolates presented C at nt 1858 (mostly genotype A strains). The 11 remaining isolates (genotypes D and F) had T1858. The stop codon mutation at nt 1896 was found in seven isolates (24% of the total and 63% of the isolates that had T1858). The frequency of the double substitution at positions 1762-1764 was surprisingly low (20%) among C1858 isolates. An association between A1896 and TGA 1762-1764 mutations was observed among genotype D isolates: these showed either none of the two mutations or both. Furthermore, strains mutated at positions 1896 and/or 1762-1764 also presented an elevated number of other, less common substitutions in the core promoter and precore regions. CONCLUSIONS: The data reported here are not in accordance with some reports from other parts of the world. In half of the isolates, none of the mutations previously described could explain the anti-HBe phenotype.
Project description:Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is endemic in Rwanda and is a major etiologic agent for chronic liver disease in the country. In a previous analysis of HBV strains from Rwanda, the S genes of most strains segregated into one single clade of subgenotype, A1. More than half (55%) of the anti-HBe positive individuals were viremic. In this study, 23 complete HBV genomes and the core promoter region (CP) from 18 additional strains were sequenced. Phylogenetic analysis of complete genomes confirmed that most Rwandan strain formed a single unique clade, within subgenotype A1. Strains from 17 of 22 (77%) anti-HBe positive HBV carriers had either mutated the precore start codon (9 strains with either CUG, ACG, UUG, or AAG) or mutations in the Kozak sequence preceding the pre-core start codon (8 strains). These mutually exclusive mutations were also identified in subgenotypes A1 (70/266; 26%), A2 (12/255; 5%), and A3 (26/49; 53%) sequences from the GenBank. The results showed that previous, rarely described HBV variants, expressing little or no HBeAg, are selected in anti-HBe positive subgenotype Al carriers from Rwanda and that mutations reducing HBeAg synthesis might be unique for a particular HBV clade, not just for a specific genotype or subgenotype.
Project description:AIM:To determine the genotypes in Mexican hepatitis B virus (HBV) isolates and characterize their precore and core promoter mutations. METHODS:Forty-nine HBV isolates of Mexico obtained from sera of 15 hepatitis patients, 6 hemodialysis patients, 20 men seeking HIV testing, and 8 AIDS patients were analyzed. HBV isolates were amplified by PCR, and genotyped by line probe assay (INNO-LiPA HBV Genotyping; INNOGENETICS N V, Ghent, Belgium). HBV genotype confirmation was performed by DNA sequencing part of the sAg region. Precore and core promoter mutation characterization was performed by line probe assay (INNO-LiPA HBV PreCore; INNOGENETICS N V, Ghent, Belgium). RESULTS:Overall, HBV genotype H was found in 37 (75.5%) out of the 49 isolates studied. HBV genotypes G, A, and D were found in 5 (10.2%), 4 (8.2%), and 3 (6.1%) isolates, respectively. HBV genotype H was predominant in isolates from hemodialysis patients (100%), hepatitis patients (80%), and men seeking HIV testing (75%), and accounted for half of infections in AIDS patients (50%). Six (12.2%) out of the 49 HBV isolates showed both wild type and mutant populations at precore codon 28. These mixed wild type and precore mutant populations were observed in one HBV genotype A isolate and in all HBV genotype G isolates. A dual variant core promoter mutation was observed in 1 (2%) of the isolates, which was genotype H. CONCLUSION:HBV genotype H is highly predominant in HBV isolates of Mexico followed by genotypes G, A and D. A low frequency of precore and core promoter mutations is observed in HBV Mexican isolates.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Precore stop codon (G1896A) mutation is one of the commonest mutations found in patients with chronic hepatitis B. However, over the years, this mutation was not reported much in Malaysia. OBJECTIVES:We therefore investigated the presence of G1896A mutation in Malaysian population and its association with HBeAg status, clinical stage, hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype and e-seroconversion rate. PATIENTS AND METHODS:Serum samples from 93 patients confirmed as hepatitis B carriers were collected for molecular assay. The whole genome of HBV was amplified by polymerase chain reaction and directly sequenced. The precore and basal core promoter regions were analyzed for presence of mutations. RESULTS:The most commonly observed mutation in the precore region was C1858T with 64.5% prevalence. The precore mutation of interest (G1896A) was identified in 25.8% of isolates. The basal core promoter mutations detected were A1762T-G1764A (26.9%), C1653T (8.6%), A1752G (10.8%) and C1766T (2.2%). No significant association was observed between G1896A mutation and HBeAg-negativity. Nonetheless, G1896A was highly prevalent among HBV genotype B. Clinical association revealed that subjects with G1896A mutations were mainly detected in asymptomatic chronic hepatitis B (58.3%) and liver cirrhosis (41.7%). One subject was diagnosed with fulminant hepatitis (4.2%) and 8.3% had hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). CONCLUSIONS:Our data suggested an intermediate prevalence of G1896A mutation among Malaysian hepatitis B carriers. The stop codon mutation has a significant association with genotype B and patients with chronic hepatitis B and liver cirrhosis.
Project description:There are cases of hepatitis involving occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in which, even though the HB surface antigen (HBsAg) is negative, HBV-DNA is detected by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR). We conducted a sequence analysis of the entire HBV region in a case of non-B non-C chronic hepatitis in a 46-year-old female. A diagnosis of non-B non-C chronic hepatitis was made. Although HBV markers, such as HBs antibody (anti-HBs), anti-HBc, HBeAg and anti-HBe, were negative, HBV-DNA was positive. Nested PCR was performed to amplify the precore region of HBV-DNA and all remaining regions by long nested PCR. Sequence analysis of the two obtained bands was conducted by direct sequencing. Compared with the control strains, the ATG (Methionine) start codon in the X region had mutated to GTG (Valine). It is assumed that a mutation at the start codon in the X region may be the reason why HBV markers are negative in some cases of hepatitis that involve occult HBV infection.
Project description:In order to assess Hepatitis B Virus genotype (g) and subgenotype (sg) implications in the course of infection, 234 HBsAg positive patients in different infection stages were characterized (66 acute infections, 63 HBeAg positive chronic infections and 105 anti-HBe positive chronic infections).Overall, sgA2 (17.9%), gD (20.9%), sgF1b (34.2%) and sgF4 (19.7%) were the most prevalent. Subgenotype F1b was overrepresented in acute and chronic HBeAg infections (56.1%), whereas gD was the most frequent (40.0%) in anti-HBe positive chronic infections. Among chronic infections, HBeAg positivity rates were 50.0, 12.5, 62.8 and 35.3% for sgA2, gD, sgF1b and sgF4, respectively (p <0.05). A bias toward BCP/preCore mutations was observed among genotypes. In anti-HBe positive chronic infections, sgF1b was more prone to have A1762T/G1764A mutation than sgA2, sgF4 and gD (75.0, 40.0, 33.3 and 31.8%, p<0.005), whereas in the pC region, gD and sgF4 were more likely to have G1896A than sgA2 and sgF1b (81.0, 72.7, 0.0 and 31.3%, p <0.001). The unexpected low frequency of the G1896A mutation in the sgF1b (despite carrying 1858T) prompted us to perform a further analysis in order to identify genotype-specific features that could justify the pattern mutations observed. A region encompassing nucleotides 1720 to 1920 showed the higher dissimilarity between sgF1b and sgF4. Genotypes and subgenotypes carrying the 1727G, 1740C and 1773T polymorphisms were prevented to mutate position 1896.HBeAg seroconversion is a critical event in the natural history of HBV infection. Differences in the HBeAg positivity rate might be relevant since different studies have observed that delayed HBeAg seroconversion is associated with a more severe clinical course of infection, highlighting the critical role that genotypes/subgenotypes might play in the progression of HBV infection. Polymorphisms in the regions 1720 to 1920 could be involved in the molecular mechanisms underlying seroconversion of each genotype/subgenotype.
Project description:A method for genotyping hepatitis B virus by partial HBsAg gene sequencing with primers common to all known genotypes was developed. Mutations related to anti-HBs resistance are also detected with this method. Samples from 103 Brazilian patients were analyzed. Precore and core region of these viruses were also sequenced in 101 patients. Genotypes A, B, C, D, and F were found with frequencies of 49.5, 2.9, 13.6, 24.3, and 9.7%, respectively. Genotypes B and C were found only in Asian patients, whereas genotypes A, D, and F were more common in patients without an Asian background. Precore mutants were found in 32 (31.7%) of 101 patients, with a higher frequency in those infected with genotype D (22 of 25 [88.0%]). Analysis of nucleotide 1858 showed presence of thymine in all patients with genotypes B, C, and D and in a few patients with genotypes A (10.0%) and F (30.0%), who showed more frequently the presence of cytosine. This nucleotide was closely related to the presence of precore mutants. Mutations in the basal core promoter were found in 64 of 101 (63.4%) samples. These mutations were more frequent in patients infected with genotype F (90.0%) and less frequent in patients infected with genotype B (33.3%). Deletions in this region were found in two genotype C-infected patients.
Project description:The immutability of the genetic code has been challenged with the successful reassignment of the UAG stop codon to non-natural amino acids in Escherichia coli. In the present study, we demonstrated the in vivo reassignment of the AGG sense codon from arginine to L-homoarginine. As the first step, we engineered a novel variant of the archaeal pyrrolysyl-tRNA synthetase (PylRS) able to recognize L-homoarginine and L-N(6)-(1-iminoethyl)lysine (L-NIL). When this PylRS variant or HarRS was expressed in E. coli, together with the AGG-reading tRNA(Pyl) CCU molecule, these arginine analogs were efficiently incorporated into proteins in response to AGG. Next, some or all of the AGG codons in the essential genes were eliminated by their synonymous replacements with other arginine codons, whereas the majority of the AGG codons remained in the genome. The bacterial host's ability to translate AGG into arginine was then restricted in a temperature-dependent manner. The temperature sensitivity caused by this restriction was rescued by the translation of AGG to L-homoarginine or L-NIL. The assignment of AGG to L-homoarginine in the cells was confirmed by mass spectrometric analyses. The results showed the feasibility of breaking the degeneracy of sense codons to enhance the amino-acid diversity in the genetic code.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Knowledge of the HBV genotype with which a patient is infected is crucial information for a physician to have when planning clinical treatment for that patient. Previous studies have suggested that there are possible differences in the pathogenicity and therapeutic response of different HBV genotypes. However, the prevalence of the various HBV genotypes and Precore and Core mutations is unknown in the UAE. Therefore, we sought to determine the prevalence of the different HBV genotypes in the UAE population. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 88 HBsAg-positive patients were included in the study. A method for genotyping and subtyping HBV by partial HBsAg gene sequencing using primers that are complementary to all known genotypes was used. Precore and core region of these viruses were also sequenced in 88 patients.HBV genotype D was the most prevalent (79.5%) genotype identified in our study population, followed by genotypes A (18.2%) and C (2.3%). The following subtypes were isolated: ayw2 (80.7%), adw2 (14.8%), and adw (2.3%). The HBV-DNA viral load was higher in HBeAg-positive patients than it was in patients who were HBeAg-negative. Precore mutants were found in 51 (58.0%) of 88 patients. Mutations in the basal core promotor were found in 22 (25.3%) of 88 patients. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: HBV infection is a major health problem in the UAE, and while genotypes B and C are the most prevalent HBV genotypes in the Asian population, our study reveals that genotype D is the predominant genotype that is present in the UAE. More patients were HBeAg-negative than were HBeAg-positive in our study sample, which could be due to the duration of infection of the included patients. Additionally, the viral loads of the HBeAg-positive patients were higher those of the HBeAg-negative patients. Analysis of nucleotide 1858 showed presence of thymine in all patients with genotypes C, and D and in a few patients with genotypes A. This nucleotide was closely related to the presence of precore mutants. Mutations in the basal core promoter were found in 22 of 88 (25.3%) samples. These mutations were more frequent in patients infected with genotype A (37.5%) and not found in patients infected with genotype C.
Project description:This study assesses the presence and outcome of genotype mixtures in the polymerase/surface and X/preCore regions of the HBV genome in patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Thirty samples from ten chronic hepatitis B patients were included. The polymerase/surface and X/preCore regions were analyzed by deep sequencing (UDPS) in the first available sample at diagnosis, a pre-treatment sample, and a sample while under treatment. HBV genotype was determined by phylogenesis. Quasispecies complexity was evaluated by mutation frequency and nucleotide diversity. The polymerase/surface and X/preCore regions were validated for genotyping from 113 GenBank reference sequences. UDPS yielded a median of 10,960 sequences per sample (IQR 16,645) in the polymerase/surface region and 11,595 sequences per sample (IQR 14,682) in X/preCore. Genotype mixtures were more common in X/preCore (90%) than in polymerase/surface (30%) (p<0.001). On X/preCore genotyping, all samples were genotype A, whereas polymerase/surface yielded genotypes A (80%), D (16.7%), and F (3.3%) (p = 0.036). Genotype changes in polymerase/surface were observed in four patients during natural quasispecies dynamics and in two patients during treatment. There were no genotype changes in X/preCore. Quasispecies complexity was higher in X/preCore than in polymerase/surface (p = 0.004). The results provide evidence of genotype mixtures and differential genotype proportions in the polymerase/surface and X/preCore regions. The genotype dynamics in HBV infection and the different patterns of quasispecies complexity in the HBV genome suggest a new paradigm for HBV genotype classification.