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Divergence of hepatitis B virus-like infections in orangutans

Verschoor, E., Warren, K.S.ORCID: 0000-0002-9328-2013, Langenhuijzen, S., Heriyanto, ., Swan, R.A. and Heeney, J.L. (2000) Divergence of hepatitis B virus-like infections in orangutans. In: European Virology 2000, 12 - 21 September 2000, Glasgow, Scotland.

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A high prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection was suspected in 195 ex-captive orang-utans due to sera that cross-reacted with human HBV antigens. Initially, it was assumed that such viral infections were contracted from humans during captivity. However, two wild-caught orang-utans were identified which were HBV surface antigen-positive, indicating that HBV or related viruses may be naturally circulating in wild orang-utan populations. Sequence analyses of 7 isolates revealed that orang-utans were infected with hepadnaviruses, but that these were clearly divergent from the known 6 human HBV genotypes and other nonhuman primate hepadnaviruses reported. Phylogenetic analyses of the sequences encoding the pre-S and small S proteins indicated that the various isolates of the orang-utan hepadnavirus (OHV) could be divided in two types, OHV-1 and -2. Two representative isolates (OU-Somad and OU-Papa) from the types of OHV were analyzed both molecularly and phylogenetically. OHV-1 and OHV-2 were highly similar in their the genome organisation to other primate hepadnaviruses. The complete genome sequences of both OHV types had an overall 5% sequence. Using a PCR-RFLP assay on sera of twenty-five OHV-positive Bornean orang-utans we found 19 OHV-1-infected individuals, while the remaining were infected with OHV-2. Phylogenetic analysis was performed using the full-length genomes of various hepadnaviruses. The tree topology showed a bifurcation, with one branch to the ape viruses and the other to the human genotypes A to E. These data suggest an ancient transmission event with a common ancestor virus and subsequent coevolution of this virus in different orang-utan populations.

Item Type: Conference Item
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary and Biomedical Sciences
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