Prevalence of enteric hepatitis A and E viruses in the Mekong River delta region of Vietnam.
A study of antibody prevalence for hepatitis A virus (HAV) and hepatitis E virus (HEV) was carried out in southwestern Vietnam in an area adjacent to a known focus of epidemic HEV transmission. The purpose of this investigation was first to provide a prevalence measure of hepatitis infections, and second to determine the outbreak potential of HEV as a function of the susceptible population. Blood specimens collected from 646 persons in randomly selected village hamlets were examined by an ELISA for anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG. The prevalences of anti-HEV IgG and anti-HAV IgG were 9% and 97%, respectively. There was a significant increase (P < 0.01) in age-specific anti-HEV IgG. A notable increase in anti-HAV IgG prevalence (P < 0.0001) occurred between child populations 0-4 (64%) and 5-9 (95%) years of age. No evidence of familial clustering of anti-HEV IgG-positive individuals was detected, and household crowding was not associated with the spread of HEV. Boiling of water was found to be of protective value against HEV transmission. A relatively low prevalence of anti-HEV indicates considerable HEV outbreak potential, against a background of 1) poor, water-related hygiene/sanitation, 2) dependence on a (likely human/animal waste)-contaminated Mekong riverine system, and 3) periodic river flooding. (+info)
A hepatitis E virus variant from the United States: molecular characterization and transmission in cynomolgus macaques.
The partial sequence of a hepatitis E virus (HEV-US1) isolated from a patient in the United States (US), suffering from acute viral hepatitis with no known risk factors for acquiring HEV, has been reported. These sequences were significantly different from previously characterized HEV isolates, alluding to the existence of a distinct human variant. In this paper, we report the near full-length sequences of HEV-US1 and a second US isolate (HEV-US2). HEV-US2 was identified in a US patient suffering from acute viral hepatitis. These sequences verify the presence of a new HEV strain in North America and provide information as to the degree of variability between variants. The HEV-US nucleotide sequences are 92% identical to each other and only 74% identical to the Burmese and Mexican strains. Amino acid and phylogenetic analyses also demonstrate that the US isolates are genetically distinct, suggesting the presence of three genotypes of HEV. Serum from the second US patient induced hepatitis following inoculation into a cynomolgus macaque. Within 2-4 weeks, HEV-US2 RNA was detectable in both the serum and faecal material coinciding with elevated serum alanine transaminase levels. Infection resolved as antibody titres increased 8 weeks post-inoculation. (+info)
Mutational analysis of glycosylation, membrane translocation, and cell surface expression of the hepatitis E virus ORF2 protein.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is the etiological agent for viral hepatitis type E, which is a major problem in the developing world. Because HEV cannot be cultured in vitro, very little information exists on the mechanisms of HEV gene expression and genome replication. HEV is a positive-strand RNA virus with three potential open reading frames (ORFs), one of which (ORF2) is postulated to encode the major viral capsid protein (pORF2). We earlier showed (S. Jameel, M. Zafrullah, M. H. Ozdener, and S. K. Panda, J. Virol. 70:207-216, 1996) pORF2 to be a approximately 88-kDa glycoprotein, carrying N-linked glycans and a potential endoplasmic reticulum (ER)-directing signal at its N terminus. Treatment with the drugs brefeldin A and monensin suggest that the protein may accumulate within the ER. Based on mutational analysis, we demonstrate Asn-310 to be the major site of N-glycan addition. In COS-1 cell expression and in vitro translation experiments, we confirm the ER-translocating nature of the pORF2 N-terminal hydrophobic sequence and show that the protein is cotranslationally, but not posttranslationally, translocated across the ER membrane. Earlier, we had also demonstrated cell surface localization of a fraction of the COS-1 cell-expressed pORF2. Using glycosylation- and translocation-defective mutants of pORF2, we now show that while transit of pORF2 into the ER is necessary for its cell surface expression, glycosylation of the protein is not required for such localization. These results may offer clues to the mechanisms of gene expression and capsid assembly in HEV. (+info)
Only the non-glycosylated fraction of hepatitis E virus capsid (open reading frame 2) protein is stable in mammalian cells.
Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is a non-enveloped, positive-strand RNA virus, with the genome encoding three open reading frames (ORFs) of which ORF 2 directs translation of the capsid protein, PORF2. Following pulse-labelling and cell fractionation of PORF2 expressed in mammalian cells using the Semliki Forest virus replicon, the capsid protein was detected as three major species of 78 (PORF2), 82 and 86 kDa, with P82 and P86 being N-glycosylated (gPORF2 and ggPORF2, respectively). Although gPORF2 and ggPORF2 species represented 79% of total PORF2 after 20 min metabolic labelling and were largely membrane-associated, the glycosylated PORF2 species were much less stable than non-glycosylated PORF2, which was present in the cytosol and represented the major product accumulated in the cell. In the absence of detectable surface expression or export of PORF2, this suggests that glycosylated ORF 2 proteins may not be intermediates in HEV capsid assembly. (+info)
Phylogenetic analysis of hepatitis E virus isolates from India (1976-1993).
Seventeen Indian hepatitis E virus (HEV) isolates, representing epidemic and sporadic hepatitis E cases during 1976-1991, were sequenced in the RNA polymerase (RNAP) region. Five isolates were also sequenced in the non-structural hypervariable region of open reading frame 1. Open reading frames 2 and 3 were sequenced only for the prototype isolate. On the basis of the comparison of all the available sequences of the conserved RNAP region, the HEV isolates were divided into three genotypes, differing from each other by >15%. Genotype I included African and Asian isolates, whereas II and III were represented by Mexican and US isolates, respectively. Genotype I was further divided into four sub-genotypes. The majority of the Indian isolates (15/20), along with the Burmese and Nepali isolates, belonged to genotype IA. Genotype IB included HEV isolates from China, Pakistan and the former USSR and 2/20 Indian isolates, which represented the oldest (1976) HEV sequenced so far. Genotype IC included both the African isolates, whereas 3/20 Indian isolates formed genotype ID. Nucleotide sequence analysis of other regions of the HEV genome also placed isolates in the same genotypes. Both the Indian cities experiencing second HEV epidemics, after intervals of 8 and 10 years, showed shifts in the sub-genotypes found; from IB (Ahm-76) to IA (Ahm-84) and from IA (Kol-81) to ID (Kol-91). However, no major shift in the genotypes was noted. Overall, HEV genotypes appear to be segregated geographically. (+info)
Antigenic domains of the open reading frame 2-encoded protein of hepatitis E virus.
The antigenic composition of the hepatitis E virus (HEV) protein encoded by open reading frame 2 (ORF2) was determined by using synthetic peptides. Three sets of overlapping 18-, 25-, and 30-mer peptides, with each set spanning the entire ORF2 protein of the HEV Burma strain, were synthesized. All synthetic peptides were tested by enzyme immunoassay against a panel of 32 anti-HEV-positive serum specimens obtained from acutely HEV-infected persons. Six antigenic domains within the ORF2 protein were identified. Domains 1 and 6 located at the N and C termini of the ORF2 protein, respectively, contain strong immunoglobulin G (IgG) and IgM antigenic epitopes that can be efficiently modeled with peptides of different sizes. In contrast, antigenic epitopes identified within the two central domains (3 and 4) were modeled more efficiently with 30-mer peptides than with either 18- or 25-mers. Domain 2 located at amino acids (aa) 143 to 222 was modeled best with 25-mer peptides. A few 30-mer synthetic peptides derived from domain 5 identified at aa 490 to 579 demonstrated strong IgM antigenic reactivity. Several 30-mer synthetic peptides derived from domains 1, 4, and 6 immunoreacted with IgG or IgM with more than 70% of anti-HEV-positive serum specimens. Thus, the results of this study demonstrate the existence of six diagnostically relevant antigenic domains within the HEV ORF2 protein. (+info)
Evidence for widespread infection of wild rats with hepatitis E virus in the United States.
Hepatitis E is an important medical pathogen in many developing countries but is rarely reported from the United States, although antibody to hepatitis E virus (anti-HEV) is found in > 1% of U.S. citizens. Zoonotic spread of the virus is suspected. Sera obtained from 239 wild rats trapped in widely separated regions of the United States were tested for anti-HEV. Seventy-seven percent of rats from Maryland, 90% from Hawaii, and 44% from Louisiana were seropositive for anti-HEV. Rats from urban as well as rural areas were seropositive and the prevalence of anti-HEV IgG increased in parallel with the estimated age of the rats, leading to speculation that they might be involved in the puzzling high prevalence of anti-HEV among some U.S. city dwellers. The discovery of a in rats in the United States and the recently reported discovery that HEV is endemic in U.S. swine raise many questions about transmission, reservoirs, and strains of HEV in developed countries. (+info)
Cell culture of sporadic hepatitis E virus in China.
The isolation and identification of the 87A strain of epidemic hepatitis E virus (HEV) by means of cell culturing have been described previously. This paper reports the successful isolation of a sporadic HEV strain (G93-2) in human lung carcinoma cell (A549) cultures. The etiology, molecular and biological properties, and serological relationship of this new strain to other, epidemic HEV strains are described. The propagation of both sporadic and epidemic HEV strains in a cell culture system will facilitate vaccine research. (+info)