Send to

Choose Destination
Infect Genet Evol. 2014 Jan;21:227-43. doi: 10.1016/j.meegid.2013.10.023. Epub 2013 Nov 5.

Hepatitis A virus: host interactions, molecular epidemiology and evolution.

Author information

Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States. Electronic address:
Division of Viral Hepatitis, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, United States.
Laboratory of Viral Hepatitis, Oswaldo Cruz Institute, FIOCRUZ, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


Infection with hepatitis A virus (HAV) is the commonest viral cause of liver disease and presents an important public health problem worldwide. Several unique HAV properties and molecular mechanisms of its interaction with host were recently discovered and should aid in clarifying the pathogenesis of hepatitis A. Genetic characterization of HAV strains have resulted in the identification of different genotypes and subtypes, which exhibit a characteristic worldwide distribution. Shifts in HAV endemicity occurring in different parts of the world, introduction of genetically diverse strains from geographically distant regions, genotype displacement observed in some countries and population expansion detected in the last decades of the 20th century using phylogenetic analysis are important factors contributing to the complex dynamics of HAV infections worldwide. Strong selection pressures, some of which, like usage of deoptimized codons, are unique to HAV, limit genetic variability of the virus. Analysis of subgenomic regions has been proven useful for outbreak investigations. However, sharing short sequences among epidemiologically unrelated strains indicates that specific identification of HAV strains for molecular surveillance can be achieved only using whole-genome sequences. Here, we present up-to-date information on the HAV molecular epidemiology and evolution, and highlight the most relevant features of the HAV-host interactions.


Genetic relatedness; Genotype; Hepatitis A virus; Host factors; Molecular epidemiology; Molecular evolution

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Elsevier Science
Loading ...
Support Center