Send to

Choose Destination
Virology. 2002 Feb 15;293(2):305-13.

Reduced antigenicity of the hepatitis B virus HBsAg protein arising as a consequence of sequence changes in the overlapping polymerase gene that are selected by lamivudine therapy.

Author information

Department of Medicine (RMH), University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria 3050, Australia.


The prevalence of hepatitis B virus vaccine escape mutants has increased as a consequence of the introduction of global vaccination programs. Furthermore and as a consequence of the organization of the genome of hepatitis B virus (HBV) into overlapping reading frames, the selection of polymerase mutants during long-term lamivudine therapy can select viruses with changes in the overlapping S gene coding for the hepatitis B small antigen (HBsAg). We have investigated the role of lamivudine in selecting HBV mutants with antigenically altered HBsAg protein using pooled human vaccine sera in enzyme immunosorbent assays and radioimmunoassays. HBsAg proteins containing the vaccine escape mutations G145R and D144E/G145R demonstrated markedly reduced binding to anti-HBs antibody. HBsAg mutants including E164D, W196S, I195M, M198I, and E164D/I195M (corresponding to the polymerase protein changes of V519L, M550I, L526M/M550V V553I, and V519L/L526M/M550V) selected during lamivudine treatment also demonstrated reduced binding to anti-HBs antibody. These findings raise the possibility of lamivudine-resistant mutants arising that possess antigenically distinct HBsAg proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free full text

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center