Compact organization of the hepatitis B virus genome

Authors

  • Roger H. Miller Ph.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
    • Hepatitis Viruses Section, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bldg. 7, Room 201, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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  • Shuichi Kaneko,

    1. Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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  • Cathie T. Chung,

    1. Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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  • Rosina Girones,

    1. Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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  • Robert H. Purcell

    1. Hepatitis Viruses Section, Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892
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Abstract

The genome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a circular DNA molecule approximately 3,200 base pairs (bp) in length. Relative to other double-stranded DNA viruses capable of independent replication, HBV possesses the smallest genome of any virus known to infect man. Therefore, it is not surprising that HBV utilizes its genetic material economically. This is accomplished by two rare genetic arrangements: proteins are encoded from overlapping translation frames, and all regulatory signal sequences reside within protein-encoding sequences. Thus, HBV obtains multiple use from many regions of its genome, which underscores the sophistication of this virus from an evolutionary standpoint.

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