Sequence analysis of the 5' non coding region of Turkish HCV isolates: implications for PCR diagnosis.
Abacioğlu YH., Davidson F., Simmonds P.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is a positive-strand RNA virus related to pestiviruses and flaviviruses. The 5' noncoding region (NCR) of the virus genome consists of 324-341 nucleotides and is generally highly conserved among different HCV isolates which has made this region the choice for primer selection in amplification of HCV sequences by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). In this study, we report the partial nucleotide sequences of the 5'-NCR from type 1a (n = 4), type 1b (n = 6) and type 4 (n = 1) Turkish HCV isolates. Sequence information was obtained by direct sequencing of RT-PCR product using biotinylated primers and single strands were sequenced using T7 DNA polymerase after binding to streptavidin coated magnetic beads. In comparison to prototype type 1a consensus sequence, all type 1b sequences had A-G substitution at position - 99. Nucleotid changes from the prototype 1a sequence were found in 12 of the 174 nucleotide positions. The most variable domain spans 51 nucleotides (positions - 167 to - 117) where nine polymorphic sites were identified. Although the nucleotide sequence of the 5'-noncoding region is highly conserved there are type-specific polymorphic sites within this region that has to be taken into consideration in the design of oligonucleotide primers for reliable amplification of sequences from different HCV genotypes.