, Volume 20, Issue 2, pp 183-187

Full-genome Nucleotide Sequence of a Hepatitis C Virus Variant (Isolate Name VAT96) Representing a New Subtype within the Genotype 2 (Arbitrarily 2k)

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Abstract

Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a single-stranded RNA virus of the family Flaviviridae, has a wide range of genetic heterogeneity: 6–11 genotypes (or 6 clades) have been known and each genotype comprises multiple subtypes. Here we report the entire nucleotide sequence of an HCV isolate from a patient in Moldova with chronic hepatitis (isolate name VAT96). The genetic organization of VAT96 was, from 5′ to 3′ ends, 5′UTR (341 nt), polyprotein ORF (9099 nt), 3′UTR (38 nt except for the poly-U and poly-pyrimidine stretch), and X-tail (98 nt). Comparison of the polyprotein amino acid sequence of VAT96 with those of known full-genome isolates assigned VAT96 to the genotype 2 (or clade 2), and further phylogenetic analysis based on a 447-nt sequence that covers part of the C and E1 regions suggested that VAT96 represents a new subtype within the genotype 2, arbitrarily designated “2k” VAT96 was unique in that it possessed a U residue prior to GCC at the 5′ end of its genome while all the other full-genome HCV sequences start with GCC or ACC. In addition, the polyprotein ORF of HCV-VAT96, like HCV-BEBE1 of 2c, encoded several additional amino acids in excess, compared to 2a and 2b sequences. Despite these characteristics that may be unique to VAT96, the 98-nt sequence of the X-tail of VAT96 was highly homologous to those of other isolates with different genotypes so far reported.