Hepatitis C virus (HCV) quasispecies constitute a dynamic population in a continuous process of variation and selection. To investigate effect of the immune system on the genetic variability of HCV, we compared the hypervariable region 1 (HVR1) of immunosuppressed patients with chronic renal failure (CRF group) to immunocompetent patients with HCV chronic infection (control group). The HVR1 from ten samples of each group was amplified, cloned and sequenced. The HCV quasispecies from the control group had a higher frequency of variable sites in HVR1 (83.9 % vs 59.3 %, p < 0.05), as well as a greater diversity within (intra-patient) and between samples, compared to the CRF group. The clustering of the majority of the quasispecies of the CRF group in the phylogenetic tree also showed the limited diversity of the quasispecies in immunosuppressed patients. Moreover, a higher variability of amino acids at positions 384, 386, 391, 394, 397, 398, 400, 405 and 410 was observed in the control group than in the CRF group, which showed a greater variability only at position 388 (p < 0.05). These data corroborates the hypothesis that the major selective pressure factor is the immune system, which promotes a high degree of diversity in the viral progeny and contributes to a constant evolution of HCV.
Archives of Virology – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 1, 2014
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