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Title: Hepatitis B virus DNA splicing in Lebanese blood donors and genotype A to E strains: implications for hepatitis B virus DNA quantification and infectivity
Authors: Chaar, Mira El 
Jisr, Tamima El
Allain, Jean-Pierre
Affiliations: Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences 
Issue Date: 2012
Part of: Journal of clinical microbiology
Volume: 50
Issue: 10
Start page: 3159
End page: 3167
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is one of the major viruses transmissible by blood that causes chronic infection in immunocompromised individuals. The study of 61 HBV carrier blood donors from Lebanon revealed multiple patterns of spliced HBV DNA. HBV DNA splicing was examined and quantified in samples of five genotypes and in seroconversion panels. The Lebanese sample median viral load was 1.5 ×102 IU/ml. All strains were genotype D, serotype ayw; 35 clustered as subgenotype D1 and 7 clustered as subgenotype D2. Three splice variants (SP1, SP1A, and Pol/S) were observed in 12 high-viral-load samples. Twenty samples of each genotype, A to E, were tested for the presence of HBV spliced DNA and SP1-specific splice variant. An unspliced HBV genome was dominant, but 100% of strains with a viral load of ≥105 copies/ml contained various proportions of spliced DNA. SP1 was detected in 56/100 (56%) samples in levels that correlated with the overall viral load. HBV DNA quantification with S (unspliced) and X (total DNA) regions provided different levels of viral load, with the difference corresponding to spliced DNA. During the highly infectious window period, the SP1 variant became detectable shortly after the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), suggesting a correlation between the initiation of splicing and the production of detectable levels of HBsAg. The quantification of HBV DNA with primers located outside and inside the spliced region might provide different estimations of viral load and differentiate between infectious and defective viral genomes. The role of splicing neoproteins in HBV replication and interaction with the host remains to be determined.
Open URL: Link to full text
Type: Journal Article
Appears in Collections:Department of Medical Laboratory Sciences

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