Hepatitis C viruses (HCVs) display a high level of sequence diversity and are currently classified into six genotypes and an increasing number of subtypes. Most likely, this heterogeneity is caused by genetic drift; evidence for recombination is scarce. To study the molecular heterogeneity of HCV in Vietnam, we analyzed 58 HCV RNA-positive sera from Vietnamese blood donors by sequence analysis of the CORE and NS5B regions. Phylogenetic analyses revealed the presence of genotype 1 (38%), genotype 2 (10.3%), and genotype 6 viruses (51.7%). All samples showed concordant results except for two (D3 and D54). Sample D54 was a mixed infection of genotype 2i and 6h viruses. Whole-genome analysis and bootscan analysis of sample D3, on the other hand, revealed a recombinant virus with genotype 2i and genotype 6p sequences at the 5′ and 3′ ends, respectively. The crossover point was located between nucleotide positions 3405 to 3464 (numbering according to prototype strain HCV-H, M67463) at the NS2/NS3 junction. The identification of this naturally occurring recombinant virus strengthens the concept that recombination may play a role in HCV epidemiology and evolution. Furthermore, the location of the recombination breakpoint may be relevant for constructing infectious chimeric viruses. Copyright

doi.org/10.1128/JVI.00312-06, hdl.handle.net/1765/56636
Journal of Virology
Department of Virology

Noppornpanth, S., Lien, T. X., Poovorawan, Y., Smits, S., Osterhaus, A., & Haagmans, B. (2006). Identification of a naturally occurring recombinant genotype 2/6 hepatitis C virus. Journal of Virology, 80(15), 7569–7577. doi:10.1128/JVI.00312-06