Scientific reports

Distinctiveness in virological features and pathogenic potentials of subgenotypes D1, D2, D3 and D5 of Hepatitis B virus.

PMID 29795338


Distinct clinical features of HBV infection have been associated with different viral genotype/subgenotype. HBV Genotype-D comprised of 10 subgenotypes, D1-D10, whose clinical implications still remain elusive. We investigated for the first-time, the virologic characteristics and cytopathic effects of four non-recombinant D-subgenotypes, D1/D2/D3/D5. Expressions of viral/host genes were evaluated in Huh7 cells transfected with full-length, linear-monomers of HBV/D-subgenotypes or pGL3-Basic vector carrying subgenotype-specific HBx. Intracellular HBV-DNA and pregenomic-RNA levels were high in D1/D2 than D3/D5. Expressions of PreC-mRNA and HBx were highest for D2 and D1 respectively, whereas PreS2/S-transcript was significantly reduced in D5. Increased apoptotic cell death and marked upregulation in caspase-3/Bax/TNF-R1/FasR/TRAIL-R1/ROS/MCP-1/IP-10/MIP-1β expression were noticed specifically in D2- and also in D3-transfected cells, while D5 resulted in over-expression of ER-stress-markers. D-subgenotype-transfected Huh7 cells were co-cultured with PBMC of healthy-donors or LX-2 cells and significant increase in pro-inflammatory cytokines in PBMC and fibrogenic-markers in LX-2 were noticed in presence of D2/D3. Further, Huh7 cells transfected with D1, in particular and also D5, displayed remarkable induction of EMT-markers and high proliferative/migratory abilities. Collectively, our results demonstrated that D2/D3 were more associated with hepatic apoptosis/inflammation/fibrosis and D1/D5 with increased risk of hepatocarcinogenesis and emphasize the need for determining HBV-subgenotype in clinical practice.