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Rev Med Virol. 2002 May-Jun;12(3):151-8.

TTV, a new human virus with single stranded circular DNA genome.

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Department of Virology, School of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Tottori University, 86 Nishi, Yonago 683-8503, Japan.


TT virus (TTV) was found in 1997 from a hepatitis patient without virus markers. However, the real impact of TTV on liver diseases remains uncertain to date. Due to the lack of suitable cell systems to support the growth of TTV, the biology of TTV is still obscure. This review tries to summarise the current status of TTV on aspects other than the taxonomic diversity of TTV. TTV was the first human virus with a single stranded circular DNA genome. TTV was considered to be a member of Circoviridae, but others suggested it conformed to a new family. TTV is distinct from ambisense viruses in the genus Circovirus, since the former genome is negative stranded. The genome structure of TTV is more related to chicken anaemia virus in the genus Gyrovirus, however, the sequence similarity is minimal except for a short stretch at 3816-3851 of TA278. Currently the working group is proposing the full name for TTV as TorqueTenoVirus and the TTV-like mini virus as TorqueTenoMiniVirus (TTMV) in a new genus Anellovirus (ring). TTVs are prevalent in non-human primates and human TTV can cross-infect chimpanzees. Furthermore, TTV sequences have been detected in chickens, pigs, cows and sheep. TTV can be transmitted by mother-to-child infection. However, within a year after birth, the prevalence reaches the same level for children born to both TTV-positive and TTV-negative mothers even without breast-feeding. The non-coding region surrounding a short 113 nt GC-rich stretch and occupying approximately one-third of the genome is considered to contain the putative replication origin. Three mRNAs are expressed by TTV, 3.0 and 1.2 and 1.0 kb species. A protein translated from the 3.0 kb mRNA is considered to be the major capsid protein as well as replicase. The nature of the proteins translated by the other two mRNAs are still putative.

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