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J Med Virol. 1999 Mar;57(3):252-8.

Distinct genotypes of a nonenveloped DNA virus associated with posttransfusion non-A to G hepatitis (TT virus) in plasma and peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

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Immunology Division, Jichi Medical School, Tochigi-Ken, Japan.


TT virus (TTV) is a nonenveloped, single-stranded DNA virus with little sequence homology to known viruses, and associated with elevated transaminase levels in the patients with posttransfusion hepatitis of unknown etiology. The DNA of TTV was detected, by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction, in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from the 30 healthy individuals with circulating virus in plasma. A sequence of 222 bases was determined on 6-10 TTV DNA clones each from plasma and 6 clones -each from PBMC from eight individuals selected at random from this group. TTV can be classified into genotypes separated by an evolutionary distance > 0.30, which can be divided further into subtypes separated by that of 0.15. Three individuals possessed two different TTV variants of distinct genotypes, with predominant genotypes different between plasma and PBMC. Another possessed TTV of the same genotype in both the plasma and PBMC, but clones with a subtype not seen in plasma were observed in PBMC. A third individual had TTV variants with or without a deletion mutation, and those with the deletion mutation abounded only in PBMC. The remaining three individuals were infected with TTV with the same sequence both in plasma and PBMC. These results indicate that TTV variants with phylogenetic differences could infect the same individual, and that some variants would have a predilection for PBMC. It remains to be seen, however, if TTV replicates in PBMC or whether it has been sequestered before its evolution in the host.

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