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J Virol. 1984 August; 51(2): 367–375.
PMCID: PMC254447

Nucleotide sequence of an infectious molecularly cloned genome of ground squirrel hepatitis virus.


We have determined the complete nucleotide sequence of an infectious cloned genome of ground squirrel hepatitis virus (GSHV), a nonpathogenic member of the hepadnavirus group. The genome is 3,311 base pairs long and contains the major open reading frames described for the related human and woodchuck hepatitis B viruses (HBV and WHV, respectively). These reading frames include genes for the major structural proteins (the surface and core antigens), unassigned open reading frames (A and B), the longer of which is presumed to encode the viral DNA polymerase, and an open reading frame preceding and continuous with the surface antigen gene. The arrangement of these open reading frames is similar to that encountered in the genomes of HBV and WHV: all of the reading frames are encoded on the same strand, they are positioned in the same fashion with respect to each other, and a large portion (at least 51%) of the genome can be translated in two reading frames. Comparisons of the predicted translational products of the three mammalian hepadnaviruses reveal 78% amino acid homology between the proteins of GSHV and WHV and 43% homology between those of GSHV and HBV. In addition, a perfect direct repeat of 10 to 11 base pairs, separated by ca. 46 to 223 base pairs, is present in the three mammalian viruses and in duck hepatitis B virus; the position of the repeats near the 5' termini of the two strands of virion DNA suggests a role in viral replication.

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