Analysis of the entire genomes of thirteen TT virus variants classifiable into the fourth and fifth genetic groups, isolated from viremic infants
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TT virus (TTV) DNA in serum samples obtained from 24 TTV-infected infants was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) with inverse primers derived from the untranslated region. The amplified PCR products were molecularly cloned; six clones each were analyzed. Seventy-six (53%) of the 144 TTV clones were classified into group 4 (YONBAN isolates), and 22 (15%) into a novel genetic group (group 5). The TTV clones in group 4 were classified into 9 types, and those in group 5 into 4 types. The entire nucleotide sequence of one representative clone each from the 13 types were determined; they comprised 3570–3770 nucleotides, and had poor homology to TTVs of groups 1–3 (TA278, PMV and SANBAN isolates). A phylogenetic tree based on the entire nucleotide sequence of open reading frame 1 confirmed the presence of five distinct clusters separated by a bootstrap value of 100%. Analysis of 13 TTV variants demonstrated preservation of the genomic organization and transcription profile in all TTV groups. TTV group 4 was detected in 54% or 72% of 7-to-12-month-old infants in Japan and China, respectively, which is comparable with that among adults in the respective country, indicating early and frequent acquisition of this TTV group in infancy.
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