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Abstract

Closed-circular HBV DNA was introduced into cells of the established human hepatoma culture HepG2. The culture medium of one of 40 single-cell clones contained HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), core-related antigens (HBc/eAg), and HBV DNA sequences. HBV DNA and DNA polymerase activity were detected in particles resembling both nucleocapsids and complete virions (Dane particles). Intracellular integrated and extrachromosomal HBV DNA sequences were detected. Relaxed-circular and single-stranded forms of viral DNA were identified as likely replicative intermediates of the HBV genome. In conclusion, in vitro production of Dane-like particles by transformed human hepatocytes has been achieved. This model should be valuable as a cell culture system for studying virus replication and virus-host cells interactions.