Cultured cells were cotransfected with a fully sequenced 1,679-base cDNA clone of human hepatitis delta virus (HDV) RNA genome and a cDNA for the genome of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). The HDV particles released were able to infect a woodchuck that was chronically infected with WHV. The HDV so produced was passaged a total of six times in woodchucks in order to determine the stability of the HDV nucleotide sequence. During a final chronic infection with such virus, liver RNA was extracted, and the HDV nucleotide sequence for the 352-base region, position 905 to 1256, was obtained. By means of PCR, we obtained double-stranded cDNA both for direct sequencing and also for molecular cloning followed by sequencing. By direct sequencing we found that a consensus sequence existed and was identical to the original sequence. From the sequences of 31 clones, we found 32% (10 of 31) to be identical to the original single nucleotide sequence. For the remainder, there were neither insertions nor deletions but there was a small number of single-nucleotide changes. These changes were predominantly transitions rather than transversions. Furthermore, the transitions were largely of just two types, uridine to cytidine and adenosine to guanosine. Of the 40 changes detected on HDV, 35% (14 of 40) occurred within an eight- nucleotide region that include position 1012, previously shown to be a site of RNA editing. These findings may have significant implications regarding both the stability of the HDV RNA genome and the mechanism of RNA editing.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Insect Science