Mutations in the hepatitis B virus preS2 region and abrogated receptor activity for polymerized human albumin.


The preS2 region of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been reported to ...
The preS2 region of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) has been reported to have human polymerized albumin receptor (PAR) activity, which correlates with viral replication. Here, we studied the genomic sequence of the preS region from rare patients lacking PAR activity, despite active viral replication. PAR and DNA polymerase activity was identified in 178 HBe antigen-positive HBV carriers, and a significant correlation between 2 markers was shown, except in 2 hepatitis patients lacking PAR activity. Nucleotide sequences of the preS region of HBV from both patients were examined by direct sequencing of PCR products. In one patient, a 45-base deletion was found to overlap half of the putative polymerized human albumin binding site in the preS2 region. In the other patient, a point mutation at the first nucleotide of the start codon of the preS2 region of HBV was found. There was no such genomic change in the 3 control HBV sequences. These results indicate that the preS2 region is necessary for binding of polymerized human albumin, and this is the first report of naturally existing mutant virus with no or low PAR activity.




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