• hepatitis B virus;
  • antiviral resistance mutation;
  • reverse transcriptase;
  • nucleos(t)ide analogue


Little is known about the discrepancy of the potential antiviral resistance mutation profiles within the hepatitis B virus (HBV) reverse transcriptase (RT) between nucleos(t)ide analogue (NA)-untreated and -treated patients with chronic hepatitis B. Full-length HBV RT sequences from 59 NA-treated and 105 NA-untreated Chinese patients were amplified and sequenced. Forty-two potential NA resistance (NAr) mutation sites were screened within these 164 RT sequences. The NAr mutation prevalence and frequency in the NA-treated group were significantly higher than those in the NA-untreated one (P < 0.001, respectively). The classical primary drug resistance and secondary/compensatory mutations were only detected at seven sites (rtL80, rtI169, rtL180, rtA181, rtT184, rtM204, and rtN236) in NA-treated patients. The non-classical putative NAr and pre-treatment mutations were observed at 22 sites (rtT38, rtN/S53, rtL82, rtL/I91, rtN/Y124, rtH126, rtT128, rtN/D134, rtN139, rtR153, rtV191, rtV207, rtS213, rtV214, rtE218, rtY/F221, rtV/I224, rtL229, rtI233, rtN/H238, rtR242, and rtS/C256) in both groups. Substitutions at seven non-classical mutation sites were of interest due to either detection only in patients with virologic breakthrough (rtL82 and rtV214), or potential ties with HBV genotypes (rtV191 and rtL229), or coexistence with rtM204I/V (rtL229), or increased mutation trends after NA-treatment (rtT128, rtV207, and rtN/H238). In conclusion, NA treatment not only constitutes a major selection factor for the primary and secondary/compensatory NAr mutations but also drives the changes of some of the putative NAr mutation sites, most of which are the genotype-independent RT sites (rtL82, rtT128, rtV191, rtV207, rtV214, rtL229, and rtN/H238). Their antiviral resistance potential calls for further investigations. J. Med. Virol. 84:207–216, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.