hepatitis B virus?

Robin Colgrove robin at louis.bidmc.harvard.edu
Sun Nov 10 22:55:29 EST 1996

hbkg at hitel.kol.co.kr wrote:
> Curious to know whether or not HBV replicates from RNA via DNA to RNA?
> Does it go through DNA forms like HIV virus?
> Thank you in advance!

This probably belongs in bionet.virology but since I worked on HBV
for years, I'll field this one. HBV and the other Hepadnaviridae
(WHV, GSHV, DHBV in woodchucks, ground squirrels and ducks respectively)
contain in the virion itself a partially double-stranded DNA molecule
with a number of interesting and unusual features too far afield
from your question to go into here. This DNA is transcribed into a
genomic and several related subgenomic RNAs within the infected cell
and the genomic RNA is in turn reverse transcribed into DNA within
the nascent viral nuclecapsid as the virion matures. There is no
required proviral form although integrated and often rearranged HBV
DNA is often found in the chromosomal DNA of hepatocellular carcinomas.
HBV is thus a retroposon but with the "life" cycle permuted so that
the virion contains DNA rather than RNA. A somewhat similar pattern
is used in Cauliflower Mosaic Virus. The new edition of Field's Virology
has a nice chapter by my former adivsor, Don Ganem, that goes into
the many interesting and curious details...

hope this helps,

Robin Colgrove
Division of Infectious Diseases
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center
Harvard School of Medicine

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