Journal article

A Divergent Hepatitis D-Like Agent in Birds

Michelle Wille, Hans J Netter, Margaret Littlejohn, Lilly Yuen, Mang Shi, John-Sebastian Eden, Marcel Klaassen, Edward C Holmes, Aeron C Hurt

VIRUSES-BASEL | MDPI | Published : 2018


Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is currently only found in humans and is a satellite virus that depends on hepatitis B virus (HBV) envelope proteins for assembly, release, and entry. Using meta-transcriptomics, we identified the genome of a novel HDV-like agent in ducks. Sequence analysis revealed secondary structures that were shared with HDV, including self-complementarity and ribozyme features. The predicted viral protein shares 32% amino acid similarity to the small delta antigen of HDV and comprises a divergent phylogenetic lineage. The discovery of an avian HDV-like agent has important implications for the understanding of the origins of HDV and sub-viral agents.

University of Melbourne Researchers


Awarded by ARC

Awarded by ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship

Funding Acknowledgements

This work was supported by an ARC Discovery Grant (DP160102146). E.C.H. is supported by an ARC Australian Laureate Fellowship (FL170100022). The Melbourne WHO Collaborating Centre for Reference and Research on Influenza is funded by the Australian Department of Health.