Natural history and molecular biology of hepatitis G virus/GB virus C

Peter Karayiannis, Jason Pickering, Rosa Zampino, Howard C. Thomas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The hepatitis G virus (HGV) or GB virus C (GBV-C) is a new member of the Flaviviridae family. The virus is transmitted by transfusion of blood, infusion of some blood products, and by parenteral exposure to blood during intravenous drug use (IVDU) and haemodialysis. Transmission from mother to infant and by sexual contact has also been documented. Although the virus has been found in patients with acute and chronic hepatitis, evidence of disease association has not been forthcoming. The majority of patients carry the virus in the absence of liver enzyme abnormalities. Objectives: To review what is currently known about HGV/GBV-C in order to evaluate its similarity with other members of the Flaviviridae and the association of the virus with disease. Results: The genomic organisation of the virus is typical for Flaviviridae, with long 5' and 3' untranslated regions (UTR). However, a clearly identifiable nucleocapsid encoding region is lacking. Polyprotein synthesis is mediated through an internal ribosome entry site (IRES) contained within the 5' UTR. Phylogenetic tree analysis of sequences derived from this region has demonstrated the existence of at least three genotypes. Apart from serum, HGV-RNA has been detected in lymphocytes also, but the quasispecies present in the two compartments appear to be different. The envelope glycoprotein E2 lacks a hypervariable region and is potentially the target of a neutralising antibody response. Conclusion: Molecular analysis of HGV reveals close similarity of the virus with HCV. However, an association of the virus with liver disease remains unresolved and no association of the virus with hepatocellular carcinoma has been reported.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalClinical and Diagnostic Virology
Issue number2-3
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jul 1998


  • Flaviviridae
  • Hepatitis G virus (HGV)
  • Molecular biology
  • Natural history

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Natural history and molecular biology of hepatitis G virus/GB virus C'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this