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Advances in Bioinformatics
Volume 2010, Article ID 323654, 9 pages
Review Article

Evolution and Diversity of the Human Hepatitis D Virus Genome

1Institute of Microbiology and Immunology, National Yang Ming University, Taipei 112, Taiwan
2Department of Life Science, Chang Gung University, TaoYuan 333, Taiwan

Received 26 August 2009; Accepted 11 December 2009

Academic Editor: Izabela Makalowska

Copyright © 2010 Chi-Ruei Huang and Szecheng J. Lo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Human hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is the smallest RNA virus in genome. HDV genome is divided into a viroid-like sequence and a protein-coding sequence which could have originated from different resources and the HDV genome was eventually constituted through RNA recombination. The genome subsequently diversified through accumulation of mutations selected by interactions between the mutated RNA and proteins with host factors to successfully form the infectious virions. Therefore, we propose that the conservation of HDV nucleotide sequence is highly related with its functionality. Genome analysis of known HDV isolates shows that the C-terminal coding sequences of large delta antigen (LDAg) are the highest diversity than other regions of protein-coding sequences but they still retain biological functionality to interact with the heavy chain of clathrin can be selected and maintained. Since viruses interact with many host factors, including escaping the host immune response, how to design a program to predict RNA genome evolution is a great challenging work.