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Virology. 1999 Sep 15;262(1):250-63.

Hepatitis C virus: an infectious molecular clone of a second major genotype (2a) and lack of viability of intertypic 1a and 2a chimeras.

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Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


Of the six major genotypes of hepatitis C virus (HCV), infectious cDNA clones of only genotype 1 have been reported. Here, we report the construction of an infectious cDNA clone representing a second major HCV genotype, genotype 2. This infectious clone (pJ6CF) encodes the consensus polyprotein of strain HC-J6(CH), genotype 2a. Its encoded polyprotein differs from those of the infectious clones of genotypes 1a and 1b by approximately 30%. Intertypic chimeric cDNA clones constructed from infectious clones of genotypes 1a and 2a of HCV were not infectious. RNA transcripts of four chimeras containing the 2a structural genes (C, E1, and E2) in the backbone of an infectious genotype 1a clone (pCV-H77C) were not viable in a chimpanzee regardless of whether p7 was from the 1a or 2a clone. However, the chimpanzee was subsequently infected with RNA transcripts of each of the two infectious parent clones, indicating that the inability of the chimeras to replicate was intrinsic to the clones and not the result of preexisting protective immune responses.

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