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Trends Microbiol. 2003 Apr;11(4):185-90.

Replication of human hepatitis delta virus: recent developments.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center, 7701 Burholme Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.


In a natural setting, hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is only found in patients that are also infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). In hepatocytes infected with these two viruses, HDV RNA genomes are assembled using the envelope proteins of HBV. Since 1986, we have known that HDV has a small single-stranded RNA genome with a unique circular conformation that is replicated using a host RNA polymerase. These and other features make HDV and its replication unique, at least among agents that infect animals. This mini-review focuses on advances gained over the last 2-3 years, together with an evaluation of HDV questions that are either unsolved or not yet solved satisfactorily.

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