Author(s): Carman WF
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Some patients with chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection are HB e antigen (HBeAg) negative, have circulating HBV particles, and often have especially severe chronic hepatitis. To test the hypothesis that the absence of HBeAg production may be due to a change in the nucleotide sequence of the pre-core region of the genome, 18 Greek and 3 non-Greek patients positive for HB surface antigen underwent direct sequencing of HBV-DNA amplified from sera. In 7 out of 8 HBeAg negative patients, two mutations (guanosine to adenosine) were found in the terminal two codons of the pre-core region, giving the sequence TAGGACATG. The remaining patient had the first mutation only. The sequence TGGGGCATG was found in 4 of 5 of the HBeAg positive patients. The first mutation results in a translational stop codon that is predicted to result in failure to produce HBeAg. The rest of the pre-core region in the HBeAg negative patients was otherwise homologous to that of the HBeAg positive patients and to known sequences.
This article was published in Lancet.
and referenced in Research & Reviews: Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology