Molecular cloning of hepatitis C virus genome from a single Japanese carrier: sequence variation within the same individual and among infected individuals

Tanaka Torahiko, Kato Nobuyuki, Nakagawa Masanori, Ootsuyama Yuko, Cho Myung-Je, Nakazawa Takahide, Hijikata Makoto, Ishimura Yuzuru, Shimotohno Kunitada

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A hepatitis C virus (HCV) genome was isolated and sequenced from a single Japanese patient with chronic non-A, non-B hepatitis. The genome (HCV-JT), which was constructed with 23 cDNA clones, consisted of 9436 nucleotides with a long open reading frame which could encode a sequence of 3010 amino acid residues. To study the sequence variation of the HCV genome in an individual, we analyzed another sequence of the HCV genome (HCV-JT') constructed with different cDNA clones derived from the same patient. The nucleotide variation between HCV-JT and -JT' was less than 1%, and was distributed throughout the genome except in the 5' non-coding region, where no variation was observed. The diversity was higher (1.6%) in the putative envelope protein region than in other regions. The nucleotide and deduced amino acid sequences of HCV-JT showed homologies of about 91 and 95%, respectively, with those of other Japanese HCV isolates. The nucleotide diversity was high in the gp 70 region (corresponding to the NS 1 region of flaviviruses) and low in the 5' non-coding and p22 (putative core protein) regions. A similar pattern of distribution of nucleotide changes was observed on comparison of HCV-JT with an American isolate HCV-US, where the homologies in nucleotide and amino acid sequences were about 79 and 85%, respectively. Base transversions contributed about 50% of the total base exchanges between the Japanese and American HCV sequences, but only 20% or less of those among Japanese HCV or among American HCV sequences. Thus, the Japanese and American HCVs are genetically distinguishable, supporting our earlier prediction that these two HCVs could be classified as different subtypes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-53
Number of pages15
JournalVirus research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1992
Externally publishedYes



  • Base transition
  • Base transversion
  • Hepatitis C virus
  • Molecular cloning
  • Sequence
  • Sequence variation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases

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