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J Virol Methods. 2003 Sep;112(1-2):45-52.

A quantitative method to detect HBV cccDNA by chimeric primer and real-time polymerase chain reaction.

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Institute of Infectious Diseases (National Key Laboratory of Infectious Diseases), First Affiliated Hospital, School of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China.


Hepatitis B virus (HBV) covalently closed circular DNA (cccDNA), is a continuous double chain ring, while other DNA forms contain a gap on each chain at the position of direct repeat 1 sequence (DR1) and direct repeat 2 sequence (DR2), respectively. At present it is still difficult to detect with high sensitivity and specificity and quantify the HBV cccDNA pool in the nucleus of the hepatocyte. A chimeric primer was designated in which segment A near 3' end is complementary to HBV plus strand just before the DR2 region gap, and segment B near 5' end is consensus to part of the human immunodefficient virus genomic sequence, without homogenetic relationship to HBV genome. Promoted by taq DNA polymerase, a single nucleotide strand is elongated from chimeric primer generated by HBV cccDNA. In contrast, other HBV DNA forms do not produce a single nucleotide strand due to the cessation of elongation reaction at the DR2 gap. The newly formed single nucleotide strand is subsequently amplified by a new polymerase chain reaction system (PCR), in which a primer, identical to chimeric primer segments B, is used to ensure specific amplification, avoiding other HBV DNA format inference. In addition, a taqman probe was used in the PCR system to report the detection signal, and for constructing a standard curve between cycle threshold (Ct) value and the template quantity. This technique proved to be effective for rapid and sensitive detection and quantitation of HBV cccDNA with high specificity and efficacy.

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