Identification and analysis of a new hepadnavirus in white storks. (1/18)

We identified, cloned, and functionally characterized a new avian hepadnavirus infecting storks (STHBV). STHBV has the largest DNA genome of all avian hepadnaviruses and, based on sequence and phylogenetic analysis, is most closely related to, but distinct from, heron hepatitis B virus (HHBV). Unique for STHBV among the other avian hepadnaviruses is a potential HNF1 binding site in the preS promoter. In common only with HHBV, STHBV has a myristylation signal on the S and not the preS protein, two C terminally located glycosylation sites on the precore/core proteins and lacks the phosphorylation site essential for the transcriptional transactivation activity of duck-HBV preS protein. The cloned STHBV genomes were competent in gene expression, replication, and viral particle secretion. STHBV infected primary duck hepatocytes very inefficiently suggesting a restricted host range, similar to other hepadnaviruses. This discovery of stork infections unravels novel evolutionary aspects of hepadnaviruses and provides new opportunities for hepadnavirus research.  (+info)

cis-Acting sequences 5E, M, and 3E interact to contribute to primer translocation and circularization during reverse transcription of avian hepadnavirus DNA. (2/18)

Hepadnaviral reverse transcription requires template switches for the genesis of relaxed circular (RC) DNA, the major genomic form in virions. Two template switches, primer translocation and circularization, are required during the synthesis of the second, or plus, strand of DNA. Studies of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) indicate that in addition to the requirement for repeated sequences at the donor and acceptor sites, template switching requires at least three other cis-acting sequences, 5E, M, and 3E. In this study we analyzed a series of variant heron hepatitis B viruses (HHBV) in which the regions of the genome that would be expected to contain 5E, M, and 3E were replaced with DHBV sequence. We found that all single and double chimeras were partially defective in the synthesis of RC DNA. In contrast, the triple chimera was able to synthesize RC DNA at a level comparable to that of unchanged HHBV. These results indicate that the three cis-acting sequences, 5E, M, and 3E, need to be compatible to contribute to RC DNA synthesis, suggesting that these sequences interact during plus-strand synthesis. Second, we found that the defect in RC DNA synthesis for several of the single and double chimeric viruses resulted from a partial defect in primer translocation/utilization and a partial defect in circularization. These findings indicate that the processes of primer translocation and circularization share a mechanism during which 5E, M, and 3E interact.  (+info)

Identification and characterization of a novel replicative intermediate of heron hepatitis B virus. (3/18)

We have identified and characterized a novel intracellular DNA replicative intermediate that is synthesized by heron hepatitis B virus (HHBV) and not by other avian hepadnaviruses. The new DNA form is synthesized in all host cells tested. The HHBV nucleic acid template, and not HHBV proteins, is responsible for the formation of the new form. The new form is comprised of a full-length minus-strand DNA and an incomplete plus-strand DNA whose 5' ends are mapped to DR2, predominantly. The 3' ends of its plus-strand are located between nucleotides 946 and 1046. Genetic analysis indicates that the sequences responsible for the formation of the new form lie between nucleotides 910 and 1364. The endogenous polymerase activity of capsids isolated from cells converted the new form into RC DNA. Intracellular capsids containing the new form are secreted inefficiently as virions, in comparison to RC- and DL DNA-containing capsids. Our analysis suggests that the new form is an incomplete RC DNA molecule that is due to a specific block or pause in the synthesis of plus-strand DNA. Our analysis also suggests that capsids become competent for efficient secretion sometime after the synthesis of 1500 nucleotides of plus-strand DNA.  (+info)

Avian and Mammalian hepadnaviruses have distinct transcription factor requirements for viral replication. (4/18)

Hepadnavirus replication occurs in hepatocytes in vivo and in hepatoma cell lines in cell culture. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication can occur in nonhepatoma cells when pregenomic RNA synthesis from viral DNA is activated by the expression of the nuclear hormone receptors hepatocyte nuclear factor 4 (HNF4) and the retinoid X receptor alpha (RXR alpha) plus peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor alpha (PPAR alpha) heterodimer. Nuclear hormone receptor-dependent HBV replication is inhibited by hepatocyte nuclear factor 3 (HNF3). In contrast, HNF3 and HNF4 support duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) replication in nonhepatoma cells, whereas the RXR alpha-PPAR alpha heterodimer inhibits HNF4-dependent DHBV replication. HNF3 and HNF4 synergistically activate DHBV pregenomic RNA synthesis and viral replication. The conditions that support HBV or DHBV replication in nonhepatoma cells are not able to support woodchuck hepatitis virus replication. These observations indicate that avian and mammalian hepadnaviruses have distinct transcription factor requirements for viral replication.  (+info)

Characterization of the cis-acting contributions to avian hepadnavirus RNA encapsidation. (5/18)

Previous analysis of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) indicated the presence of at least two cis-acting sequences required for efficient encapsidation of its pregenomic RNA (pgRNA), epsilon and region II. epsilon, an RNA stem-loop near the 5' end of the pgRNA, has been characterized in detail, while region II, located in the middle of the pgRNA, is not as well defined. Our initial aim was to identify the sequence important for the function of region II in DHBV. We scanned region II and the surrounding sequence by using a quantitative encapsidation assay. We found that the sequence between nucleotides (nt) 438 and 720 contributed to efficient pgRNA encapsidation, while the sequence between nt 538 and 610 made the largest contribution to encapsidation. Additionally, deletions between the two encapsidation sequences, epsilon and region II, had variable effects on encapsidation, while substitutions of heterologous sequence between epsilon and region II disrupted the ability of the pgRNA to be encapsidated efficiently. Overall, these data indicate that the intervening sequences between epsilon and region II play a role in encapsidation. We also analyzed heron hepatitis B virus (HHBV) for the presence of region II and found features similar to DHBV: a broad region necessary for efficient encapsidation that contained a critical region II sequence. Furthermore, we analyzed variants of DHBV that were substituted with HHBV sequence over region II and found that the chimeras were not fully functional for RNA encapsidation. These results indicate that sequences within region II may need to be compatible with other viral components in order to function in pgRNA encapsidation.  (+info)

Chimeras of duck and heron hepatitis B viruses provide evidence for functional interactions between viral components of pregenomic RNA encapsidation. (6/18)

Packaging of hepadnavirus pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) into capsids, or encapsidation, requires several viral components. The viral polymerase (P) and the capsid subunit (C) are necessary for pgRNA encapsidation. Previous studies of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) indicated that two cis-acting sequences on pgRNA are required for encapsidation: epsilon, which is near the 5' end of pgRNA, and region II, located near the middle of pgRNA. Later studies suggested that the intervening sequence between these two elements may also make a contribution. It has been demonstrated for DHBV that epsilon interacts with P to facilitate encapsidation, but it is not known how other cis-acting sequences contribute to encapsidation. We analyzed chimeras of DHBV and a related virus, heron hepatitis B virus (HHBV), to gain insight into the interactions between the various viral components during pgRNA encapsidation. We learned that having epsilon and P derived from the same virus was not sufficient for high levels of encapsidation, implying that other viral interactions contribute to encapsidation. Chimeric analysis showed that a large sequence containing region II may interact with P and/or C for efficient encapsidation. Further analysis demonstrated that possibly an RNA-RNA interaction between the intervening sequence and region II facilitates pgRNA encapsidation. Together, these results identify functional interactions among various viral components that contribute to pgRNA encapsidation.  (+info)

Identification and characterization of avihepadnaviruses isolated from exotic anseriformes maintained in captivity. (7/18)

Five new hepadnaviruses were cloned from exotic ducks and geese, including the Chiloe wigeon, mandarin duck, puna teal, Orinoco sheldgoose, and ashy-headed sheldgoose. Sequence comparisons revealed that all but the mandarin duck viruses were closely related to existing isolates of duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV), while mandarin duck virus clones were closely related to Ross goose hepatitis B virus. Nonetheless, the S protein, core protein, and functional domains of the Pol protein were highly conserved in all of the new isolates. The Chiloe wigeon and puna teal hepatitis B viruses, the two new isolates most closely related to DHBV, also lacked an AUG start codon at the beginning of their X open reading frame (ORF). But as previously reported for the heron, Ross goose, and stork hepatitis B viruses, an AUG codon was found near the beginning of the X ORF of the mandarin duck, Orinoco, and ashy-headed sheldgoose viruses. In all of the new isolates, the X ORF ended with a stop codon at the same position. All of the cloned viruses replicated when transfected into the LMH line of chicken hepatoma cells. Significant differences between the new isolates and between these and previously reported isolates were detected in the pre-S domain of the viral envelope protein, which is believed to determine viral host range. Despite this, all of the new isolates were infectious for primary cultures of Pekin duck hepatocytes, and infectivity in young Pekin ducks was demonstrated for all but the ashy-headed sheldgoose isolate.  (+info)

Evidence from nature: interspecies spread of heron hepatitis B viruses. (8/18)

Heron hepatitis B viruses (HHBVs) in three subspecies of free-living great blue herons (Ardea herodias) from Florida, USA, were identified and characterized. Eight of 13 samples were positive in all assays used, whereas sera from egrets, which are also members of the family Ardeidae, were negative in the same assays. Comparative phylogenetic analysis of viral DNA sequences from the preS/S region of previously reported and novel HHBV strains isolated from captive grey herons (Germany) and free-ranging great blue herons (USA), respectively, revealed a strong conservation (95 % sequence similarity) with two separate clusters, implying a common ancestor of all strains. Our data demonstrate for the first time that different subspecies of herons are infected by HHBV and that these infections exist in non-captive birds. Phylogenetic analysis and the fact that the different heron species are geographically isolated populations suggest that lateral transmission, virus adaptation and environmental factors all play a role in HHBV spreading and evolution.  (+info)