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1.  Complete Genome Sequence and Phylogenetic Relatedness of Hepatitis B Virus Isolates in Papua, Indonesia▿ †  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(6):1842-1847.
Each hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype and subgenotype is associated with a particular geographic distribution, ethnicity, and anthropological history. Our previous study showed the novel HBV subgenotypes C6 (HBV/C6) and D6 (HBV/D6), based on the S gene sequences of isolates in Papua, Indonesia. The present study investigated the complete genome sequence of 22 strains from Papua and subjected them to molecular evolutionary analysis. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that 9 out of 22 strains were classified as HBV/C6, 3 strains as HBV/D6, and 9 strains as HBV/B3. A particular strain positioned between HBV/B3 and HBV/B5 remained unclassifiable into any known subgenotypes. This strain showed high homology with HBV/C5 from the Philippines in the core region and was thought to have undergone genetic recombination with HBV/C5. Further studies are needed to determine whether this strain belongs to a new subgenotype of HBV/B. Based on the amino acid alignment, HBV/C6 has subgenotype specific variations (G18V and V47M) in the S region. HBV/C6 strains were more closely related in terms of evolutionary distance to strains from the east Asia and Pacific regions than those found in southeast Asia. HBV/D6 strains were most closely related to strains from the Western countries (HBV/D3) rather than those from Asia and Papua New Guinea. In conclusion, we have confirmed by complete sequence analysis that two novel HBV subgenotypes, HBV/C6 and HBV/D6, are prevalent in Papua, Indonesia.
PMCID: PMC2697109  PMID: 19386834
2.  Hepatitis B virus genotypes/subgenotypes in voluntary blood donors in Makassar, South Sulawesi, Indonesia 
Virology Journal  2009;6:128.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype appears to show varying geographic distribution. Molecular epidemiological study of HBV in particular areas in Indonesia is still limited. This study was aimed to identify the prevalence of HBV genotype/subgenotype and mutations in basal core promoter (BCP) region in voluntary blood donors in Makassar, one of the biggest cities in east part of Indonesia.
A total of 214 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive samples were enrolled in this study. HBV genotype/subgenotype was identified by genotype-specific PCR method or direct sequencing of pre-S region. Mutations in BCP were identified by direct sequencing of the corresponding region.
HBV/B and HBV/C were detected in 61.21% and 25.23% of the samples, while mix of HBV/B and HBV/C was found in 12.62% of the samples. Based on pre-S region, among HBV/B and HBV/C, HBV/B3 (95.00%) and HBV/C1 (58.82%) were predominant. Interestingly, HBV/D was identified in two samples (22.165.07 and 22.252.07). Complete genome sequences of two HBV/D strains (22.165.07 and 22.252.07) demonstrated that both strains belong to HBV/D6, and the divergence between the two strains were 1.45%, while divergences of both 22.165.07 and 22.252.07 strains with reference strain (AM422939/France) were 2.67%. A1762T/G1764A mutation was observed in 1.96% and 5.36%, whereas T1753V mutation was found in 2.94% and 1.79% of HBV/B and HBV/C, respectively.
HBV/B and HBV/C are dominant in Makassar, similar to most areas in Indonesia. Mutations in BCP which might be associated with severity of liver disease are less common.
PMCID: PMC2732614  PMID: 19691824
3.  A Novel Complex A/C/G Intergenotypic Recombinant of Hepatitis B Virus Isolated in Southern China 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(1):e84005.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes and subgenotypes may vary in geographical distribution and virological features. Previous investigations, including ours, showed that HBV genotypes B and C were respectively predominant in South and North China, while genotypes A and D were infrequently detected and genotype G was not found. In this study, a novel A/C/G intergenotype was identified in patients with chronic HBV infection in Guilin, a city in southern China. Initial phylogenetic analysis based on the S gene suggested the HBV recombinant to be genotype G. However, extended genotyping based on the entire HBV genome indicated it to be an A/C/G intergenotype with a closer relation to genotype C. Breakpoint analysis using the SIMPLOT program revealed that the recombinant had a recombination with a arrangement of genotypes A, G, A and C fragments. Compared with the HBV recombinants harboring one or two genotype G fragments found in Asian countries, this Guilin recombinant was highly similar to the Vietnam (98–99%) and Long An recombinants (96–99%), but had a relatively low similarity to the Thailand one (89%). Unlike those with the typical genotype G of HBV, the patients with the Guilin recombinant were seropositive for HBeAg. Moreover, a relatively high HBV DNA viral load (>2×106 IU/ml) was detected in the patients, and the analysis of viral replication capacity showed that the Guilin recombinant strains had a competent replication capacity similar to genotypes B and C strains. These findings can aid in not only the clarification of the phylogenetic origin of the HBV recombinants with the genotype G fragment found in Asian countries, but also the understanding of the virological properties of these complicated HBV recombinants.
PMCID: PMC3901648  PMID: 24475029
4.  High prevalence of hepatitis B virus genotype C/C1 in the Minangkabau ethnic group in Indonesia 
Virology Journal  2013;10:27.
The Minangkabau is one of the major ethnic groups in Indonesia. Previous studies with a limited number of samples have shown a different prevalence of HBV/C in the Minangkabau compared to the Indonesian population in general. The aim of this study was to assess the HBV genotype distribution pattern and the prevalence of pre-S, T1753V and A1762T/G1764A mutations among the Minangkabau HBV carriers. The samples were collected from Padang, West Sumatera and from western Java. Mixed primers for specific genotypes were used to determine the HBV genotype. Pre-S or S genes were amplified, sequenced and aligned with reference sequences from GenBank to derive a phylogenetic tree for subgenotyping. Pre-S genes were also analyzed for mutations. The basal core promoter (BCP) region was amplified and directly sequenced to analyze T1753V and A1762T/G1764A mutations.
The predominant HBV genotype among the Minangkabau HBV carriers (n=117) was C (72.6%) followed by B (24.8%) and co-infection with B and C (2.6%). The prevalence of pre-S mutations, including both the pre-S deletion and pre-S2 start codon mutation, was 41.0%, and the T1753V and A1762T/G1764A mutations were found in 51.9% and 71.2% respectively. HBV/C1 was the predominant HBV subgenotype in the Minangkabau HBV carriers, and was found in 66.2%, followed by B3, B7, C8, B2, B9, C2, and C10 (18.3%, 7.0%, 2.8%, 1.4%, 1.4%, 1.4%, and 1.4% respectively). From samples that were found to be co-infected with HBV B and C, two samples were successfully cloned and subgenotyped, including one with mixed subgenotypes of B3 and C1, and another one with mixed subgenotypes of B7, C1, putative intergenotypic of B/A, and C/A. Furthermore, three samples from donors of non-Minangkabau ethnicity from Padang were found to be infected with an intragenotypic recombination form, including a putative recombinant of B8/B3 and B9/B7.
HBV/C with subgenotype C1 was the predominant HBV genotype among HBV carriers of Minangkabau ethnicity. The prevalence of pre-S, A1762T/G1764A, and T1753V mutations was higher among the Minangkabau compared to Indonesian HBV carriers in general.
PMCID: PMC3583810  PMID: 23336976
HBV genotype; Pre-S mutation; BCP mutation; Minangkabau
5.  Clinical and Serological Variation between Patients Infected with Different Hepatitis B Virus Genotypes 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2004;42(12):5837-5841.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has eight genotypes which have distinct geographical distributions. Studies comparing differences in the clinical outcomes of infections caused by strains with genotype-related variations in the HBV genome have largely compared genotypes B and C and genotypes A and D but not all four genotypes. The present study included 196 HBV-infected patients attending an infectious diseases outpatient clinic in Sweden. The age and geographic origin, liver function, HBeAg and anti-HBe status, and the presence or absence of HBV DNA were analyzed for each patient. HBV DNA was detected in 144 patients, and the HBV genotype and the core promoter and precore sequences were determined for the isolates from 101 of these patients. Among the patients who might be considered most likely to be nonviremic, namely, anti-HBe-positive HBV carriers with normal alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, 65% had detectable HBV DNA and were thus viremic. Among the viremic patients, HBeAg-positive patients were more likely to have elevated ALT levels than anti-HBe-positive patients. HBV genotypes A to F were represented in the study, and their distributions coincided accurately with the origin of the patient. A significantly higher number of genotype D-infected patients were anti-HBe positive and had elevated ALT levels (42% of genotype D-infected patients but 0% of patients infected with genotypes B and C). Genotype D strains with mutations in the core promoter and precore regions were significantly correlated with elevated ALT levels in the patients. The differences were not age related. Therefore, in this large-scale cross-sectional study, genotype D appears to be associated with more active disease.
PMCID: PMC535251  PMID: 15583320
6.  Genetic variability in the precore and core promoter regions of hepatitis B virus strains in Karachi 
BMC Gastroenterology  2006;6:20.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes have distinct geographic distribution. Moreover, much genetic variability has been described in the precore (PC) and basal core promoter (BCP) regions of the HBV genome. The local prevalence of HBV genotypes and mutations has not been well studied. The aim of the present study is to determine the prevalence of HBV genotypes and mutations in the PC and BCP region in HBV strains in Karachi.
A total of 109 chronic hepatitis B patients with detectable HBV DNA by a PCR assay were enrolled in the study. Sera were tested for HBeAg, anti-HBe antibody and liver profile. HBV genotypes and mutations in the PC and BCP regions were detected by INNO-LiPA line-probe assays.
Of the 109 patients investigated, 38 (35%) were HBeAg positive while 71 (65%) were HBeAg negative. Genotype D was present in 100% of the patients. Two patients had co-infection with genotype A. There was no significant difference in the baseline characteristics, mean ALT levels, and presence of clinical cirrhosis in patients with HBeAg positive or negative strains with or without PC and BCP mutations. Of the 38 HBeAg positive patients, 9 (24%) had PC and BCP mutations. In the HBeAg negative patient group, mutations were detected in 44 (62%) of the strains investigated. More than one mutation was common, seen in 26 (37%) patients with HBeAg negative disease and 6 (16%) patients with HBeAg positive disease. Twelve (17%) HBeAg negative patients had dual T1762 and A1764 mutations. None of the HBeAg positive patients had T1762 mutation. Mutations were undetectable in 27 (38%) of patients with HBeAg negative disease.
Our study shows that type D is the main HBV genotype in Karachi, Pakistan. Significant numbers of patients infected with this genotype have PC and BCP variants. Mutations at more than one site are common. Patients harboring these mutants do not differ significantly in their clinical presentation from patients having wild type infection.
PMCID: PMC1544342  PMID: 16863587
7.  Phylogeography and evolutionary history of hepatitis B virus genotype F in Brazil 
Virology Journal  2013;10:236.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype F (HBV/F) is considered to be indigenous to the Americas, but its emergence and spread in the continent remain unknown. Previously, only two HBV/F complete genome sequences from Brazil were available, limiting the contribution of Brazilian isolates to the phylogenetic studies of HBV/F. The present study was carried out to assess the proportion and geographic distributions of HBV/F subgenotypes in Brazil, to determine the full-length genomic sequences of HBV/F isolates from different Brazilian geographic regions, and to investigate the detailed evolutionary history and phylogeography of HBV/F in Brazil.
Complete HBV/F genomes isolated from 12 Brazilian patients, representing the HBV/F subgenotypes circulating in Brazil, were sequenced and analyzed together with sequences retrieved from GenBank, using the Bayesian coalescent and phylogeographic framework.
Phylogenetic analysis using all Brazilian HBV/F S-gene sequences available in GenBank showed that HBV/F2a is found at higher frequencies countrywide and corresponds to all sequences isolated in the Brazilian Amazon Basin. In addition, the evolutionary analysis using complete genome sequences estimated an older median ancestral age for the Brazilian HBV/F2a compared to the Brazilian HBV/F1b and HBV/F4 subgenotypes, suggesting that HBV/F2a represents the original native HBV of Brazil. The phylogeographic patterns suggested a north-to-south flow of HBV/F2a from Venezuela to Brazil, whereas HBV/F1b and HBV/F4 strains appeared to have spread from Argentina to Brazil.
This study suggests a plausible route of introduction of HBV/F subgenotypes in Brazil and demonstrates the usefulness of recently developed computational tools for investigating the evolutionary history of HBV.
PMCID: PMC3751091  PMID: 23855930
Hepatitis B virus; Genotype F; Bayesian framework; Phylogeography; Brazil
8.  Clinical and Virological Characteristics of Hepatitis B Virus Subgenotypes Ba, C1, and C2 in China▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2007;45(5):1491-1496.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) subgenotypes Ba, C1 (Cs), and C2 (Ce) are the most prevalent HBV variants in China. To investigate the virological characteristics of these subgenotypes and their clinical implications, we enrolled a cohort of 211 patients in the Guangdong Province of China, including 132 with chronic hepatitis B virus infection (CH), 32 with liver cirrhosis (LC), and 47 with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) according to clinical examination, liver function test, and ultrasonograph results. Overall, HBV Ba was found in 51.2% (108/211), HBV C1 in 33.6% (71/211), and HBV C2 in 15.2% (32/211) of the cases. The distribution of HBV genotype C was greater among patients in the LC and HCC groups than among patients in the CH group, while the distribution of HBV genotype B was greater among the CH patients than among the LC and HCC patients. No significant differences in clinical features were found among patients with HBV Ba, C1, and C2. Virologically, HBV C1 had the strongest association with the A1762T G1764A double mutation, while the mutation at position 1896 resulting in A (1896A) was uncommon. In contrast, HBV Ba had the highest frequency of 1896A but the lowest of A1762T G1764A, and HBV C2 had intermediate frequencies of these mutations. Mutations of 1653T and 1753V were specifically associated with HBV C2 and C1, respectively. Multivariate analyses showed that the 1653T, 1753V, and A1762T G1764A mutations and patient age significantly increased the risk of HCC development. In conclusion, HBV Ba, C1, and C2 have different mutation patterns in the enhancer II/core promoter/precore region. Therefore, genotyping and detecting the 1653T and 1753V mutations, in addition to the A1762T G1764A double mutation, might have important clinical implications as predictive risk factors for hepatocarcinogenesis.
PMCID: PMC1865908  PMID: 17376881
9.  Novel Subgenotypes of Hepatitis B Virus Genotypes C and D in Papua, Indonesia▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2008;46(7):2160-2166.
Eight genotypes (A to H) and nine subtypes (adw2, adw4, ayw1, ayw2, ayw3, ayw4, adrq+, adrq−, and ayr) of hepatitis B virus (HBV) have been identified worldwide. They appear to be associated with geographical distribution, virological characteristics, and possibly clinical outcomes. We performed sequence analysis of part of the S gene and the entire precore/core gene of HBV isolates obtained from HBsAg-positive blood donors in Papua Province, Indonesia. Phylogenetic analysis of the S gene sequences revealed that 23 (85.2%) of the 27 HBV isolates tested belonged to genotype C (HBV/C) and 2 (7.4%) each to HBV/B and HBV/D. Interestingly, 19 (82.6%) of the 23 isolates of HBV/C clustered in a branch that was distinct from the previously reported subgenotypes C1 to C5 (HBV/C1 to HBV/C5). Similarly, two isolates of HBV/D clustered in a branch distinct from the reported subgenotypes HBV/D1 to HBV/D5. Phylogenetic analysis of the entire precore/core gene confirmed the consistent presence of the distinct branches in HBV/C and HBV/D. We therefore propose novel subgenotypes designated HBV/C6 and HBV/D6. The majority of HBV/C6 isolates in Papua had alanine at positions 159 and 177 (A159/A177) in the HBsAg. A159/A177 is different from the determinants for adrq+ (A159/V177), found throughout Asia, and adrq− (V159/A177), found in New Caledonia and Polynesia, possibly representing a unique antigenic group (provisionally referred to as adrq indeterminate). In conclusion, we have identified two novel HBV subgenotypes, HBV/C6 and HBV/D6, the first of which is the most prevalent subgenotype of HBV in Papua, Indonesia.
PMCID: PMC2446895  PMID: 18463220
10.  Ethnogeographical structure of hepatitis B virus genotype distribution in Indonesia and discovery of a new subgenotype, B9 
Archives of Virology  2011;156(5):855-868.
The distribution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in the populations of island Southeast Asia is of medical and anthropological interest and is associated with an unusually high genetic diversity. This study examined the association of this HBV genetic diversity with the ethnogeography of the populations of the Indonesian archipelago. Whole genome analysis of 21 HBV isolates from East Nusa Tenggara and Papua revealed two recently reported HBV/B subgenotypes unique to the former, B7 (7 isolates) and B8 (5 isolates), and uncovered a further novel subgenotype designated B9 (4 isolates). Further isolates were collected from 419 individuals with defined ethnic backgrounds representing 40 populations. HBV/B was predominant in Austronesian-language-speaking populations, whereas HBV/C was the major genotype in Papua and Papua-influenced populations of Moluccas; HBV/B3 was the predominant subgenotype in the western half of the archipelago (speakers of the Western Malayo-Polynesian [WMP] branch of Austronesian languages), whereas B7, B8 and B9 were specific to Nusa Tenggara (Central Malayo-Polynesian (CMP)). The result provides the first direct evidence that the distribution of HBV genotypes/subgenotypes in the Indonesian archipelago is related to the ethnic origin of its populations and suggests that the HBV distribution is associated with the ancient migratory events in the peopling of the archipelago.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00705-011-0926-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3081436  PMID: 21318309
11.  Molecular Evolution of Hepatitis B Virus over 25 Years 
Journal of Virology  2006;80(21):10307-10314.
Determining the longitudinal molecular evolution of hepatitis B virus (HBV) is difficult due to HBV's genomic complexity and the need to study paired samples collected over long periods of time. In this study, serial samples were collected from eight hepatitis B virus e antigen-negative asymptomatic carriers of HBV genotype B in 1979 and 2004, thus providing a 25-year period to document the long-term molecular evolution of HBV. The rate, nature, and distribution of mutations that emerged over 25 years were determined by phylogenetic and linear regression analysis of full-length HBV genome sequences. Nucleotide hypervariability was observed within the polymerase and pre-S/S overlap region and within the core gene. The calculated mean number of nucleotide substitutions/site/year (7.9 × 10−5) was slightly higher than published estimates (1.5 × 10−5 to 5 × 10−5). Nucleotide changes in the quasispecies population did not significantly alter the molecular evolutionary rate, based on linear regression analysis of evolutionary distances among serial clone pre-S region sequences. Therefore, the directly amplified or dominant sequence was sufficient to estimate the putative molecular evolutionary rate for these long-term serial samples. On average, the ratio of synonymous (dS) to nonsynonymous (dN) substitutions was highest for the polymerase-coding region and lowest for the core-coding region. The low dS/dN ratios observed within the core suggest that selection occurs within this gene region, possibly as an immune evasion strategy. The results of this study suggest that HBV sequence divergence may occur more rapidly than previously estimated, in a host immune phase-dependent manner.
PMCID: PMC1641782  PMID: 17041211
12.  Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Subgenotypes C2 and B2 Differ in Lamivudine- and Adefovir-Resistance-Associated Mutational Patterns in HBV-Infected Chinese Patients▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2010;48(12):4363-4369.
We aimed to study the prevalence and clinical implications of hepatitis B virus (HBV) subgenotypes in Chinese patients. A total of 4,300 patients, mainly from northern China, were enrolled, including 182 patients with acute hepatitis B and 4,118 patients with chronic HBV infection who had been exposed to nucleoside or nucleotide analogs. HBV genotypes/subgenotypes were determined by direct sequencing of the HBV S/Pol region. The prevalence rates were 0.40% for HBV/B1, 14.30% for HBV/B2, 0.25% for HBV/B3, 0.35% for HBV/B4, 1.05% for HBV/C1, 81.72% for HBV/C2, 0.93% for HBV/C3, 0.16% for HBV/C4, and 0.84% for HBV/D. In chronic HBV infection, patients with HBV/B2 were younger and had lower ΗBeAg positive rates than patients with HBV/C2. The incidence of lamivudine-resistant mutations was significantly higher in HBV/C2 compared to HBV/B2 (27.9% versus 19.8%; P < 0.01), and the significant difference was observed only for rtM204I and not rtM204V. In addition, compensatory mutations were more frequently detected in HBV/C2. The incidence of adefovir-resistant mutations was similar between the two subsets, but HBV/C2 inclined to show rtA181V (3.6% for C2 versus 0.9% for B2; P < 0.01), while HBV/B2 inclined to show rtN236T (4.5% for versus 2.5% for C2; P < 0.01). The ratios of HBV/B2 to HBV/C2 infection were 1.7 (110/65), 5.7 (2,653/463), 7.5 (520/69), 8.0 (48/6), and 15.3 (183/12) for acute hepatitis B, chronic hepatitis B, liver cirrhosis, acute-on-chronic liver failure, and hepatocellular carcinoma, respectively. In conclusion, HBV/C2 and HBV/B2, two prevalent subgenotypes, differ in lamivudine- and adefovir-resistance-associated mutational patterns. HBV/C2-infected patients are more likely to have disease progression than HBV/B2-infected ones.
PMCID: PMC3008443  PMID: 20881176
13.  Molecular epidemiological study of hepatitis B virus in blood donors from five Chinese blood centers 
Archives of Virology  2012;157(9):1699-1707.
Although the genetic variability of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in HBV-infected patients has been extensively studied, reports on genotypes, subtypes and mutations in the S region of HBV strains from Chinese blood donors are limited. In this study, 245 blood samples from HBsAg-positive blood donors were collected from five geographically diverse blood centers in China. The S region of HBV was amplified, and the HBV genotype and subtype were determined. The amino acid sequences of the S region were aligned, and mutations related to the failure of immunization and HBsAg detection were determined. Of the 245 samples, 228 (93 %) were genotyped successfully. We found that genotypes B, C, D and A accounted for 58.8 %, 21.9 %, 6.6 % and 3.95 % of the isolates, respectively. The distribution of HBV antigen subtypes was as follows: adw (67.6 %), adr (23.3 %) and ayw (8.7 %). Mutations were present in 39 (17.1 %) of 228 samples in the major hydrophilic region (MHR) of the S region. This study demonstrated that HBV genotype/subtype B/adw was the most frequent strain circulating in HBV-infected Chinese blood donors, followed by C/adr. The occurrence of MHR mutants in HBV-infected blood donors and the potential failure to detect some of them in collected units poses a threat to transfusion safety.
PMCID: PMC3431469  PMID: 22669316
14.  Hepatitis B Virus Genotype C Prevails Among Chronic Carriers of the Virus in Korea 
Journal of Korean Medical Science  2005;20(5):816-820.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the major causative agents of chronic liver diseases in Korea. HBV has been classified into 8 genotypes by a divergence of >8% in the entire genomic sequence, and have distinct geographic distributions. There are limited data on the relevance between HBV genotypes and clinical outcomes in Korea. To investigate the clinical feature relating to HBV genotype in Korea, a total 120 serum samples with HBsAg (65 from Seoul and 55 from the other city in Korea) were obtained from each 30 chronic HBV carriers with asymptomatic carrier (ASC), chronic hepatitis (CH), liver cirrhosis (LC) and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). HBV genotype was determined by either enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) using monoclonal antibodies against genotype-specific epitopes in the preS2-region or the direct sequencing of small S gene. HBV genotypes were determined in 105 (87.5%) of 120 samples. HBV genotype C was identified in all HBV carriers with ASC, CH, LC, and HCC. Genotypes A, B, D, E, F and G were not detected in any of them. Genotype C HBV prevails predominantly among chronic carriers of the virus in Korea, irrespective of their clinical stages of liver disease and geographic origin.
PMCID: PMC2779279  PMID: 16224156
Hepatitis B virus; Hepatitis, Chronic; Genotype; Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
15.  Novel Hepatitis B Virus Genotype A Subtyping Assay That Distinguishes Subtype Aa from Ae and Its Application in Epidemiological Studies 
Journal of Virology  2004;78(14):7575-7581.
The eight genotypes of hepatitis B virus (HBV) have different geographical distributions, virological characteristics, and clinical manifestations. A unique subtype of HBV genotype A (HBV/A) was reported in sub-Saharan Africa, raising the possibility that patients infected with this subtype (HBV/Aa [“a” for African and Asian]) may have different clinical outcomes than other HBV/A isolates (HBV/Ae [“e” for European]). Comparison between 30 HBV/Aa and 30 HBV/Ae isolates indicated that almost all HBV/Ae isolates had G at nucleotide (nt) 1809 and C at nt 1812, whereas HBV/Aa isolates had T1809/T1812. Taking advantage of these two single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), a novel subtype-specific PCR assay in the X/precore/core region was developed. This assay was combined with a restriction fragment length polymorphism assay using BglII in a different region (nt 1984 to 1989), which has a SNP distinguishing HBV/Aa from HBV/Ae, resulting in 100% specificity for the combined assay. Application of the subtyping assay using sera from 109 paid donors in the United States indicated significantly different distributions of HBV/A subtypes among races; African-Americans, Caucasians, and Hispanics had HBV/Ae, whereas Asians had mainly HBV/Aa, suggesting that the HBV/Aa isolates may have been imported by recent immigration from Asia. In conclusion, the specificity and sensitivity of the combined subtyping assay were confirmed, and its usefulness was demonstrated in a practical context.
PMCID: PMC434120  PMID: 15220432
16.  Novel Evidence of HBV Recombination in Family Cluster Infections in Western China 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(6):e38241.
Two hepatitis B virus (HBV) C/D recombinants were isolated from western China. No direct evidence indicates that these new viruses arose as a result of recombination between genotype C and D or a result of convergence. In this study, we search for evidence of intra-individual recombination in the family cluster cases with co-circulation of genotype C, D and C/D recombinants. We studied 68 individuals from 15 families with HBV infections in 2006, identified individuals with mixed HBV genotype co-infections by restriction fragment length polymorphism and proceeded with cloning and DNA sequencing. Recombination signals were detected by RDP3 software and confirmed by split phylogenetic trees. Families with mixed HBV genotype co-infections were resampled in 2007. Three of 15 families had individuals with different HBV genotype co-infections in 2006. One individual (Y2) had a triple infection of HBV genotype C, D and C/D recombinant in 2006, but only genotype D in 2007. Further clonal analysis of this patient indicated that the C/D recombinant was not identical to previously isolated CD1 or CD2, but many novel recombinants with C2, D1 and CD1 were simultaneously found. All parental strains could recombine with each other to form new recombinant in this patient. This indicates that the detectable mixed infection and recombination have a limited time window. Also, as the recombinant nature of HBV precludes the possibility of a simple phylogenetic taxonomy, a new standard may be required for classifying HBV sequences.
PMCID: PMC3366946  PMID: 22675528
17.  A type-specific nested PCR assay established and applied for investigation of HBV genotype and subgenotype in Chinese patients with chronic HBV infection 
Virology Journal  2012;9:121.
Many studies have suggested that hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes show not only geographical distribution and race specificity, but also are associated with disease progression and response to interferon treatment. The objective of this study was to develop a nested polymerase chain reaction (nPCR) assay for genotypes A-D and subgenotypes B1, B2, C1 and C2 of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and to investigate the distribution characteristics of HBV genotypes/subgenotype in China.
After redesigning the primers and optimizing the reaction conditions using common Taq polymerase, the sensitivity, specificity and reproducibility of the method were evaluated using plasmids and serum samples. In total, 642 serum samples from patients with chronic HBV infection were applied to investigate the distribution of HBV genotype and subgenotype in China.
The genotype and subgenotype could be identified when the HBV DNA load of a sample was ≥102.3 IU/mL. For the 639 successfully genotyped samples, the sequencing results of 130 randomly selected samples (20.3%, 130/639) were consistent with those of the nPCR method. The present study showed that HBV genotype B (11.2%, 72/642), C (68.2%, 438/642) and D (7.2%, 46/642) were circulating in China, while genotype C was the dominant strain except for western region where genotype D was the prevalent strain. The main subgenotypes of genotypes B and C were B2 (87.5%, 63/72) and C2 (92.9%, 407/438), respectively.
The low-cost nPCR method would be a useful tool for clinical and epidemiological investigation in the regions where genotypes A-D are predominant.
PMCID: PMC3477104  PMID: 22716091
Genotype; Hepatitis B virus; Nested PCR; Subgenotype; Type-specific nested PCR
18.  Molecular Epidemiology of Hepatitis B Virus 
Although safe and effective vaccines for hepatitis B virus (HBV) have been available for nearly three decades, this virus kills at least 600,000 people annually worldwide and remains the leading global cause of chronic hepatitis, cirrhosis, and hepatocellular carcinoma. Because the HBV reverse transcriptase lacks a proofreading function, many HBV genotypes, subgenotypes, mutants, and recombinants exist. At least 10 HBV genotypes (HBV-A through J) with distinct geographic distributions have been identified; by definition, their complete genomic sequences diverge by more than 8%. HBV genotype is increasingly becoming recognized as an important factor in the progression and clinical outcome of HBV-induced disease. Infections by HBV-C or -D are significantly more likely to lead to cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma than are infections by HBV-A or -B. Additionally, the hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion response to standard or pegylated interferon is more favorable in patients with HBV-A or -B than in those with HBV-C or -D. However, therapeutic responses to nucleos(t)ide analogues are generally comparable among HBV genotypes. In conclusion, genotyping of HBV is useful in identifying chronic hepatitis B patients who are at increased risk of disease progression, thereby enabling physicians to optimize antiviral therapy for these patients.
PMCID: PMC3192197  PMID: 22016585
Antiviral agents; Genotype; Hepatitis B virus; Hepatocellular carcinoma; Molecular epidemiology
19.  Viral Adaptation to Host Immune Responses Occurs in Chronic Hepatitis B Virus (HBV) Infection, and Adaptation Is Greatest in HBV e Antigen-Negative Disease 
Journal of Virology  2012;86(2):1181-1192.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-specific T-cell responses are important in the natural history of HBV infection. The number of known HBV-specific T-cell epitopes is limited, and it is not clear whether viral evolution occurs in chronic HBV infection. We aimed to identify novel HBV T-cell epitopes by examining the relationship between HBV sequence variation and the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) type in a large prospective clinic-based cohort of Asian patients with chronic HBV infection recruited in Australia and China (n = 119). High-resolution 4-digit HLA class I and II typing and full-length HBV sequencing were undertaken for treatment-naïve individuals (52% with genotype B, 48% with genotype C, 63% HBV e antigen [HBeAg] positive). Statistically significant associations between HLA types and HBV sequence variation were identified (n = 49) at 41 sites in the HBV genome. Using prediction programs, we determined scores for binding between peptides containing these polymorphisms and associated HLA types. Among the regions that could be tested, HLA binding was predicted for 14/18 (78%). We identified several HLA-associated polymorphisms involving likely known anchor residues that resulted in altered predicted binding scores. Some HLA-associated polymorphisms fell within known T-cell epitopes with matching HLA restriction. Enhanced viral adaptation (defined as the presence of the relevant HLA and the escaped amino acid) was independently associated with HBeAg-negative disease (P = 0.003). Thus, HBV appears to be under immune pressure in chronic HBV infection, particularly in HBeAg-negative disease.
PMCID: PMC3255822  PMID: 22072755
20.  High prevalence of hepatitis B virus dual infection with genotypes A and G in HIV-1 infected men in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, during 2000-2011 
BMC Infectious Diseases  2013;13:540.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is divided into 8 definite (A-H) and 2 putative (I, J) genotypes that show a geographical distribution. HBV genotype G, however, is an aberrant genotype of unknown origin that demonstrates severe replication deficiencies and very little genetic variation. It is often found in co-infections with another HBV genotype and infection has been associated with certain risk groups such as intravenous drug users and men having sex with men (MSM). We aimed to estimate the prevalence of HBV-G in the Netherlands by analysing samples from HBV-positive patients visiting the Academic Medical Center in Amsterdam.
Ninety-six HBV-infected patients, genotyped as HBV-A or HBV-G infected, were retrieved from the clinical database. Blood plasma samples were analysed with a newly-developed real-time PCR assay that detects HBV-A and HBV-G. For three patients, the HBV plasma viral load (pVL) of both genotypes was followed longitudinally. In addition, three complete genomes of HBV-G were sequenced to determine their relationship to global HBV-G strains.
Ten HBV-G infections were found in the selected Dutch patients. All concerned HIV-1 infected males with HBV-A co-infection. Dutch HBV-G strains were phylogenetically closely related to reference HBV-G strains.
In this study, HBV-G infection in the Netherlands is found exclusively in HIV-1 infected men as co-infection with HBV-A. A considerable percentage (37%) of men infected with HBV and HIV-1 are actually co- infected with two HBV genotypes.
PMCID: PMC3840706  PMID: 24225261
21.  Hepatitis B virus genetic variants: biological properties and clinical implications 
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) causes a chronic infection in 350 million people worldwide and greatly increases the risk of liver cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The majority of chronic HBV carriers live in Asia. HBV can be divided into eight genotypes with unique geographic distributions. Mutations accumulate during chronic infection or in response to external pressure. Because HBV is an RNA-DNA virus the emergence of drug resistance and vaccine escape mutants has become an important clinical and public health concern. Here, we provide an overview of the molecular biology of the HBV life cycle and an evaluation of the changing role of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) at different stages of infection. The impact of viral genotypes and mutations/deletions in the precore, core promoter, preS, and S gene on the establishment of chronic infection, development of fulminant hepatitis and liver cancer is discussed. Because HBV is prone to mutations, the biological properties of drug-resistant and vaccine escape mutants are also explored.
PMCID: PMC3636426
hepatitis B virus; persistent infection; genotype; mutant
22.  Distribution of Hepatitis B Virus Genotypes among Patients with Chronic Infection in Japan Shifting toward an Increase of Genotype A▿  
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2009;47(5):1476-1483.
Acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has been increasing through promiscuous sexual contacts, and HBV genotype A (HBV/A) is frequent in patients with acute hepatitis B (AHB) in Japan. To compare the geographic distribution of HBV genotypes in patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) in Japan between 2005 and 2006 and between 2000 and 2001, with special attention to changes in the proportion of HBV/A, a cohort study was performed to survey changes in genotypes of CHB patients at 16 hospitals throughout Japan. Furthermore, we investigated the clinical characteristics of each genotype and examined the genomic characteristics of HBV/A isolates by molecular evolutionary analyses. Of the 1,271 patients, 3.5%, 14.1%, and 82.3% were infected with HBV/A, -B, and -C, respectively. In comparison with our previous survey during 2000 and 2001, HBV/A was twice as frequent (3.5% versus 1.7%; P = 0.02). The mean age was lower in the patients with HBV/A than in those with HBV/B or -C. Based on phylogenetic analyses of 11 full-length genomes and 29 pre-S2/S region sequences from patients, HBV/A isolates were imported from Europe and the United States, as well as the Philippines and India. They clustered with HBV/A from AHB patients and have spread throughout Japan. HBV/A has been increasing in CHB patients in Japan as a consequence of AHB spreading in the younger generation through promiscuous sexual contacts, aided by a tendency of HBV/A to induce chronic hepatitis. The spread of HBV/A infection in Japan should be prevented by universal vaccination programs.
PMCID: PMC2681832  PMID: 19297602
23.  Clinical and Virological Aspects of Blood Donors Infected with Hepatitis B Virus Genotypes B and C 
Pathogenic and therapeutic differences among hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes have been documented. However, the association of virological characteristics with clinical differences among HBV genotypes remains unclear. We therefore studied the clinical and virological characteristics of Taiwanese volunteer blood donors infected with HBV genotypes B and C. HBV genotypes were determined in 300 candidate blood donors positive for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg), and sequences of the precore gene of the HBV genome were determined in 50 HBV e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and 50 HBeAg-negative blood donors. Of 300 HBsAg-positive blood donors, 10% had elevated serum aminotransferase levels and 27% were positive for HBeAg. HBV genotype distribution in 264 viremic carriers was as follows: B, 221 (83.7%); C, 39 (14.8%); F, 1 (0.4%); and mixed infection, 3 (1.1%). Blood donors with genotype C infection tended to have a higher frequency of HBeAg positivity and a higher serum HBV DNA level than those with genotype B infection. The frequency of precore stop codon mutation was significantly higher in HBeAg-negative blood donors than HBeAg-positive ones, irrespective of HBV genotypes. Meanwhile, only 5% of blood donors with genotype C infection had C-1858 strains. In conclusion, mixed infection of HBV genotypes indeed occurs, and genotype C has a higher serum HBV DNA level than genotype B. Precore stop codon mutation is common in HBeAg-negative HBV carriers, irrespective of HBV genotypes. In contrast, precore C-1858 strains are rarely identified in Taiwanese HBV genotype C.
PMCID: PMC120125  PMID: 11773087
24.  Epidemiology and Molecular Characterization of Hepatitis B Virus Infection in Isolated Villages in the Western Brazilian Amazon 
Individuals from three isolated, rural communities in the western Brazilian Amazon were evaluated for serological markers of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, HBV genotype, and the presence of risk factors for infection and transmission. Of the 225 individuals studied, 79.1% had serological evidence of HBV infection; 10.2% individuals were chronic carriers for HBV surface antigen (HBsAg-positive). Analysis of risk factors indicates that HBV is transmitted mainly horizontally within the family from a chronic “active” carrier for hepatitis B “e” antigen (HBeAg-positive), though a strong possibility of vertical transmission remains. The predominance of HBV genotype F, with a higher genomic similarity between the isolates, indicated a relatively recent introduction of HBV, from a common source, to the area. This study sheds light on the HBV epidemiology in the Brazilian Amazon region and highlights the need for greater emphasis on HBV control and immunization programs.
PMCID: PMC3516333  PMID: 22908032
25.  An overview of molecular epidemiology of hepatitis B virus (HBV) in India 
Virology Journal  2008;5:156.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the major global public health problems. In India, HBsAg prevalence among general population ranges from 2% to 8%, placing India in intermediate HBV endemicity zone and the number of HBV carriers is estimated to be 50 million, forming the second largest global pool of chronic HBV infections. India is a vast country, comprised of multiracial communities with wide variations in ethnicity and cultural patterns, which is attributable to its geographical location, gene influx due to invasion and/or anthropological migrations in the past. Moreover, recent increase in trade, trafficking and use of illicit drugs has also considerably influenced the epidemiology of HBV, specifically in the eastern and north eastern parts of India. However, data on the molecular epidemiology of HBV in India is scanty. HBV genotypes A and D have been well documented from different parts of mainland India. Interestingly, in addition to genotypes A and D, genotype C having high nucleotide similarity with south East Asian subgenotype Cs/C1 strain, have been detected exclusively from eastern Indian HBV carriers, suggesting a recent introduction. Thus, compared to other parts of India, the molecular epidemiology of HBV is naturally distinct in eastern India. Very recently, taking the advantage of circulation of three distinct HBV genotypes within the population of eastern India, different aspects of HBV molecular epidemiology was studied that revealed very interesting results. In this study, the clinical significance of HBV genotypes, core promoter and precore mutations, possible routes of introduction of HBV genotype C in eastern India, the clinical implications of x gene variability, prevalence of the AFB1 induced p53 gene codon 249 mutation, the transmission potentiality of HBV among asymptomatic/inactive or occult HBV carriers and the genetic variability of HBV persisting in the PBL was investigated. In this manuscript, the information available on the molecular epidemiology of HBV in India has been reviewed and the results of studies among the eastern Indian population have been summarised.
PMCID: PMC2640379  PMID: 19099581

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