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Virus Res. 1992 Feb;22(2):107-23.

Marked sequence diversity in the putative envelope proteins of hepatitis C viruses.

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Virology Division, National Cancer Center Research Institute, Tokyo, Japan.


The nucleotide sequences of cDNAs (414 base pairs) encoding parts of putative envelope proteins (gp35 and gp70) of 40 isolates of hepatitis C virus (HCV-J) derived from 30 independent plasma or liver specimens from Japanese patients (13 with chronic hepatitis, 14 with hepatocellular carcinoma and 3 hemophiliacs who had received imported clotting factors), were analyzed using the polymerase chain reaction. Approximately 29-38% of the nucleotide sequences of the HCV-J isolates examined differed from those of isolates from the United States (HCV-US). Furthermore, 12-24% and 8-17% sequence diversities were found within the isolates of HCV-J and HCV-US, respectively. The diversities of the amino acid sequences were the same or greater than those of the nucleotide sequences. We confirmed that two hypervariable regions (HVR1 and HVR2) were present in this amplified region, as described in our previous report (Hijikata et al., 1991a) and we found that the HVR1 regions of HCV-J and HCV-US were 27 and 21 amino acids in length, respectively, and began from the N-terminal amino acid of gp70. HVR2 was found in HCV-J, but not in HCV-US isolates, in which the corresponding region of the genome was conserved. During the analysis, plural HCV genomes were found in 6 of 30 specimens. These plural HCV genomes in a single specimen were concluded to be derived from the same HCV ancestor, because of their relative low sequence diversities (about 10% in their nucleotide sequences).(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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