Detection of divergent hepatitis C virus envelope sequences

Research paper by Jia-Horng Kao, Pei-Jer Chen, Ming-Yang Lai, Pei-Ming Yang, Jin-Chuan Sheu, Teh-Hong Wang, Ding-Shinn Chen

Indexed on: 01 Jun '94Published on: 01 Jun '94Published in: Journal of Biomedical Science


The nucleotide sequences of the putative envelope region (E1) and the junction between the E1 and envelope 2/nonstructural 1 (E2/NS1) region of the hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome are divergent among different genotypes. To characterize them, we introduced a set of nested primers that are conserved among four different genotypes (types I–IV) of HCV for polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification. The amplified products include the variable full-length E1 region, and the 5′ end of the E2/NS1 region, the so-called hypervariable region-1 (HVR-1). Of 53 patients with histologically confirmed chronic liver disease and HCV viremia, type II virus was the most dominant strain as detected by the PCR genotyping method and the envelope region could be amplified in more than half of them irrespective of their genotypes. The specificity was confirmed by subsequent nucleotide sequence analysis. The positivity of envelope region PCR was not correlated with histologic diagnosis and hepatitis activities in these patients. Our results suggest that the nested primers can amplify the variable E1 and hypervariable 5′ end of E2/NS1 of the HCV genome with moderate efficiency, and thus will be useful in future studies of HCV infections.