Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is a subviral satellite of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Since the RNA genome of HDV can replicate in cultured cells in the absence of HBV, it has been suggested that the only helper function of HBV is to supply HBV coat proteins in the assembly process of HDV particles. To examine the factors involved in such virion assembly, we transiently cotransfected cells with various hepadnavirus constructs and cDNAs of HDV and analyzed the particles released into the medium. We report that the HDV genomic RNA and the delta antigen can be packaged by coat proteins of either HBV or the related hepadnavirus woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). Among the three co-carboxy-terminal coat proteins of WHV, the smallest form was sufficient to package the HDV genome; even in the absence of HDV RNA, the delta antigen could be packaged by this WHV coat protein. Also, of the two co-amino-terminal forms of the delta antigen, only the larger form was essential for packaging.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science