Complete nucleotide sequences of six hepatitis B viral genomes encoding the surface antigen subtypes ayw4, adw4q, and adrq and their phylogenetic classification

  • Heléne Norder
  • Anne-Marie Couroucé
  • L. O. Magnius
Part of the Archives of Virology Supplementum book series (ARCHIVES SUPPL, volume 8)


The complete nucleotide sequences of six hepatitis B viral (HBV) genomes were determined by dideoxy chain termination sequencing of ten overlapping nucleotide fragments obtained by the polymerase chain reaction. Four of the genomes belonged to the two genomic groups E and F of HBV which have been previously identified by us on the basis of sequence divergences within the S gene. Genomic group E encodes the HBsAg subtype ayw4, group F adw4q. The other two genomes were of Pacific origin within group C and encoded adrq . The relationship of these complete human HBV genomes to 21 that have been previously published, together with one chimpanzee virus and four rodent hepadnaviral genomes, was investigated by constructing a phylogenetic tree utilizing a combination of distance matrix and approximate parsimonious methods. Thereby, the previously demonstrated segregation of human HBV strains into six genomic groups was confirmed. Both of the representatives of the groups E and F were found to differ by 8.1–13.6% and by 12.8–15.5% from the genomes of the other genomic groups and by 1.5 and 3.7% from each other. Since they differed by more than 8% from the genomes in the other groups, the limit originally used to define HBV genomic groups, their status as new genomic groups was confirmed. The two Pacific group C strains were found to differ by 2.7% from each other and by 4.1 to 5.4% from other group C genomes, suggesting that they diverged early from the other group C genomes. According to both the overall similarity and the phylogenetic dendrogram the F strains formed the most divergent cluster of HBV genomes favoring the concept that they represented the original HBV strains of the New World. The next split in the dendrogram segregated the A, D, E and the chimpanzee strains from the Asian B and C strains. Information on the nucleotide sequences and their encoded products of HBV strains of different genomic groups will provide a basis to understand biological variations of the HBV infection in different parts of the world.


Complete Nucleotide Sequence Genomic Group Phylogenetic Dendrogram National Bacteriological Laboratory Ground Squirrel Hepatitis Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Heléne Norder
    • 1
  • Anne-Marie Couroucé
    • 2
  • L. O. Magnius
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of VirologyThe National Bacteriological LaboratoryStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Institute National Transfusion SanguineParisFrance

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