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J Virol. 2001 Mar;75(6):3004-9.

Evaluation of accumulation of hepatitis C virus mutations in a chronically infected chimpanzee: comparison of the core, E1, HVR1, and NS5b regions.

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  • 1Hepatitis Branch, Division of Viral and Rickettsial Diseases, National Center for Infectious Diseases, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia 30333, USA.


Four hepatitis C virus genome regions (the core, E1, HVR1, and NS5b) were amplified and sequenced from yearly samples obtained from a chronically infected chimpanzee over a 12-year span. Nucleotide substitutions were found to accumulate in the core, E1, and HVR1 regions during the course of chronic infection; substitutions within the NS5b region were not detected for the first 8 years and were found to be minimal during the last 4 years. The rate of accumulation of mutations in the core and E1 regions, based on a direct comparison between the first 1979 sequence and the last 1990 sequence, was 1.120 x 10(-3), while phylogenetic ancestral comparison using the 12 yearly sequences showed a rate of 0.816 x 10(-3) bases per site per year. Temporal evaluation of the sequences revealed that there appeared to be periods in which substitutions accumulated and became fixed, followed by periods with relative stasis or random substitutions that did not persist. Synonymous and nonsynonymous substitutions within the core, E1, and HVR1 regions were also analyzed. In the core and E1 regions, synonymous substitutions predominated and gradually increased over time. However, within the HVR1 region, nonsynonymous substitutions predominated but gradually decreased over time.

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