Author(s): Lo K, Hwang SB, Duncan R, Trousdale M, Lai MM
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Abstract Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) encodes a single protein, the hepatitis delta antigen (HDAg), which is thought to be translated from a 0. 8-kb RNA of antigenomic sense. This subgenomic RNA species is present in very small amounts in HDV-infected liver tissues and in cultured cells infected or transfected with HDV, and in some cases it cannot be detected at all. In contrast, HDAg protein is present in large amounts in all natural and experimental models of HDV infection. This study addresses whether other HDV RNA species, such as the antigenomic-sense, genome-size HDV RNA can also serve as the mRNA for HDAg synthesis. Taking advantage of the ability of herpes simplex virus (HSV) to degrade only polyadenylated mRNAs, we examined the effect of HSV coinfection on HDAg synthesis. It was shown that HSV infection did degrade the subgenomic 0.8-kb HDV mRNA but not HDV genome-length RNA. Under such conditions, HDAg synthesis was completely inhibited. Furthermore, the genome-length HDV RNA was found not to be associated with polysomes. Finally, in vitro translation studies demonstrated that HDAg could not be translated directly from the genome-length antigenomic-sense HDV RNA. These results suggest that only the subgenomic RNA species of HDV possesses properties characteristic of the mRNA for HDAg and that the genome-length RNA cannot be used for translating HDAg. In addition, we found that HDV RNA replication did not depend on de novo HDAg synthesis. Copyright 1998 Academic Press.
This article was published in Virology
and referenced in Journal of Computer Science & Systems Biology