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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) X gene diversity and evidence of recombination in HBV/HIV co-infected persons

Authors

  • Christina M. Martin,

    1. Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Jeffrey A. Welge,

    1. Department of Psychiatry and Environmental Health, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
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  • Jason T. Blackard

    Corresponding author
    1. Division of Digestive Diseases, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, Cincinnati, Ohio
    • Division of Digestive Diseases, University of Cincinnati College of Medicine, ML 0595, 231 Albert Sabin Way, Cincinnati OH 45267.
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Abstract

The high frequency of mutation during hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has resulted in 8 genotypes (A–H) with varying effects on disease severity and treatment efficacy. However, analysis of intrapatient HBV diversity is limited, especially during HIV co-infection. Therefore, a preliminary study was performed to analyze HBV X gene diversity in 17 HBV/HIV co-infected individuals. Phylogenetic analysis revealed HBV genotype A in 13 individuals (76.5%) or genotype E in 1 individual (5.9%). Additionally, 3 individuals were dually infected with HBV genotypes A and G (17.6%). Overall, higher genetic distance and entropy were observed in the X region and overlapping polymerase (Pol(X)) regions when compared to the PreS, S, and overlapping polymerase (Pol(PS) and Pol(S)) regions analyzed in the same patients as part of a previous study. In addition, multiple viral variants from 2 individuals with dual HBV infection did not group with either genotype A or G by phylogenetic analysis, indicating possible recombination. SimPlot bootscan analysis confirmed recombination breakpoints within the X gene in both individuals. Recombination between HBV genotypes may represent an important evolutionary strategy that enhances overall pathogenic potential and/or alters the downstream effects of the HBV X protein. J. Med. Virol. 83:1142–1150, 2011. © 2011 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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