The duck hepatitis B virus pre-C region encodes a signal sequence which is essential for synthesis and secretion of processed core proteins but not for virus formation

H J Schlicht, J Salfeld, H Schaller
1987 Journal of Virology  
Analysis of the serum of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV)-infected ducks has revealed the presence of C-terminally truncated viral core proteins (e antigens). These proteins are glycosylated and therefore were not released from infected cells by lysis but rather by active secretion, indicating that the DHBV core protein can be synthesized alternatively as a cytoplasmic or a secretory protein. Transient expression of cloned wild-type DHBV DNA and of a specifically designed viral mutant in a human
more » ... mutant in a human hepatoma cell line (Hep-G2) showed that the DHBV core gene promoter is active in differentiated human liver cells and that synthesis and secretion of the processed core proteins are dependent on the expression of the pre-C region, a small open reading frame which precedes the core gene. In addition, these experiments showed that the mechanism of core protein processing and secretion is conserved between DHBV and the human hepatitis B virus and therefore might be important for the hepatitis B virus life cycle in general. In spite of this, intrahepatic injection of the pre-C mutant into uninfected ducks resulted in viremia without concomitant e-antigen synthesis, indicating that virus formation is independent of pre-C expression.
doi:10.1128/jvi.61.12.3701-3709.1987 fatcat:amoglqe3qjd3xngq3r2zbwobpa