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J Virol. 2005 Aug;79(16):10460-6.

Role of the antigenic loop of the hepatitis B virus envelope proteins in infectivity of hepatitis delta virus.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Virologie Moléculaire, Institut National de la Transfusion Sanguine, 6 Rue Alexandre-Cabanel, 75739 Paris, France.


The infectious particles of hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) are coated with the large, middle, and small envelope proteins encoded by HBV. While it is clear that the N-terminal pre-S1 domain of the large protein, which is exposed at the virion surface, is implicated in binding to a cellular receptor at viral entry, the role in infectivity of the envelope protein antigenic loop, also exposed to the virion surface and accessible to neutralizing antibodies, remains to be established. In the present study, mutations were created in the antigenic loop of the three envelope proteins, and the resulting mutants were evaluated for their capacity to assist in the maturation and infectivity of HDV. We observed that short internal combined deletions and insertions, affecting residues 109 to 133 in the antigenic loop, were tolerated for secretion of both subviral HBV particles and HDV virions. However, when assayed for infectivity on primary cultures of human hepatocytes or on the recently described HepaRG cell line, virions carrying deletions between residues 118 and 129 were defective. Single amino acid substitutions in this region revealed that Gly-119, Pro-120, Cys-121, Arg-122, and Cys-124 were instrumental in viral entry. These results demonstrate that in addition to a receptor-binding site previously identified in the pre-S1 domain of the L protein, a determinant of infectivity resides in the antigenic loop of HBV envelope proteins.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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