Cloned HBV DNA causes hepatitis in chimpanzees

Hans Will, Roberto Cattaneo, Hans Georg Koch, Gholamreza Darai, Heinz Schaller, Hǔub Schellekens, Peer M.C.A. Van Eerd, Friedrich Deinhardt

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89 Scopus citations


Most of our knowledge of the structure and function of the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome comes from the analysis of the viral DNA sequences cloned in bacteria1-3. Because the physical state of cloned HBV DNA differs from HBV DNA encapsidated in the virion - for example, it lacks the nick-gap structure4, and a covalently linked protein5 - the question arises as to whether it can initiate HBV replication in vitro 6 or in vivo. We describe here the development of typical acute viral hepatitis, and the detection of HBV-specific DNA sequences in the serum and liver, in a chimpanzee inoculated with cloned HBV DNA. This demonstrates that neither the virion proteins nor the nick-gap structure of the virion DNA are needed for the initiation of replication of HBV in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)740-742
Number of pages3
Issue number5885
StatePublished - Dec 1 1982


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Cite this

Will, H., Cattaneo, R., Koch, H. G., Darai, G., Schaller, H., Schellekens, H., Van Eerd, P. M. C. A., & Deinhardt, F. (1982). Cloned HBV DNA causes hepatitis in chimpanzees. Nature, 299(5885), 740-742.