, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 566-570

Glycine-to-arginine substitution at codon 145 of HBsAg in two infants Born to hepatitis B e antigen-positive carrier

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Two daughters born to an HBeAg-positive carrier became hepatitis B virus carriers despite immunoprophylaxis with hepatitis B immune globulin or hepatitis B vaccine. The elder daughter received hepatitis B immune globulin alone and the younger daughter received both hepatitis B immune globulin and hepatitis B vaccine. They acquired anti-HBs passively immediately after birth, and the younger daughter did not respond to active immunization. The nucleotide sequence of the S gene of hepatitis B virus DNA from the four carriers in the family was determined. A 531-bp fragment within the S gene, which includes a region encoding both the commona and type-specificd/y orr/w determinants, was amplified by polymerase chain reaction and sequenced. Antigenic subtypes of HBV were identified asadr in the father andadw in both the mother and two daughters. Amino acid residues 122–160 of HBsAg were identical between the daughters and their mother except for a glycine-to-arginine substitution at codon 145. A possibility that this escape mutant had selective advantage over wild-type hepatitis B virus under immune pressure is discussed.