Phylogenetic analysis of the precore/core gene of hepatitis B virus genotypes E and A in West Africa: New subtypes, mixed infections and recombinations

Christophe M. Olinger, Véronique Venard, Mounjohou Njayou, Akeeb O. Bola Oyefolu, Ibrahim Maïga, Alain J. Kemp, Sunday A. Omilabu, Alain le Faou, Claude P. Muller*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

121 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

One hundred and twenty-two new hepatitis B virus (HBV) preC/C sequences and three complete genomes from three major countries in West Africa were analysed. The majority of sequences were of genotype E and the only other genotype found was genotype A. Although for genotype E sequences, the genetic diversity of the preC/C gene was about two to three times higher than that of the preS/S gene, it was still considerably lower than that for genotype A sequences. The HBV/E preC/C gene was related most closely to subgenotype D1 and D2 sequences. Evidence of recombination was found in two strains that were of genotype A in the preS/S gene and of genotype E in the preC/C gene. The genotype A strains from Cameroon, Mali and Nigeria could be divided phylogenetically into three subtypes, A3 and two new subtypes, tentatively designated A4 and A5. Each subtype presented a genetic diversity of 2.19-3.85% and intersubtype distances of 4.47-5.97%. Interestingly, one sample from Nigeria showed evidence of a triple recombination of genotypes E/D and A, separated by a genotype G-specific insert of 36 bp. Of 110 patients, 19 (17.3%) showed a coinfection of genotypes A and E, mostly in human immunodeficiency virus-positive children from Cameroon. Thus, in Cameroon, where both genotypes coexist, 37% of all individuals tested had mixed infections. The low genetic variability in the preC/C gene of genotype E supports our previous speculation about a relatively short evolutionary history of this genotype, in contrast to the subtype-rich African genotype A strains.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1163-1173
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of General Virology
Volume87
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - May 2006

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