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Virology. 2006 Jan 5;344(1):71-6.

Hepatitis delta virus.

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Fox Chase Cancer Center, 333 Cottman Avenue, Philadelphia, PA 19111-2497, USA.


Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a sub-viral agent that is dependent for its life cycle on hepatitis B virus (HBV). The help it obtains from HBV is limited to the sharing of envelope proteins. These proteins are needed to facilitate the assembly of the HDV genome into new virus particles, and in turn, to allow the attachment and entry of HDV into new host cells. In other respects, the replication of the small single-stranded circular RNA genome of HDV is independent of HBV. HDV genome replication produces two forms of a RNA-binding protein known as the long and small delta antigens (Ag). All other proteins needed for HDV genome replication, especially the RNA-directed RNA polymerase activity, are provided by the host cell. This mini-review article is a mixture of personal perspective and speculations about the future of HDV research. It starts with a brief overview of HDV and its replication, notes some of the major unresolved questions, and directs the interested reader to more detailed reviews.

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