HDV RNA replication: ancient relic or primer?

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2006:307:25-45. doi: 10.1007/3-540-29802-9_2.


HDV replicates its circular RNA genome using a double rolling-circle mechanism and transcribes a hepatitis delta antigen-encodeing mRNA from the same RNA template during its life cycle. Both processes are carried out by RNA-dependent RNA synthesis despite the fact that HDV does not encode an RNA-dependent RNA polymerase (RdRP). Cellular RNA polymerase II has long been implicated in these processes. Recent findings, however, have shown that the syntheses of genomic and antigenomic RNA strands have different metabolic requirements, including sensitives to alpha-amanitin and the site of synthesis. Evidence is summarized here for the involvement of other cellular polymerases, probably pol I, in the synthesis of antigenomic RNA strand. The ability of mammalian cells to replicate HDV RNA implies that RNA-dependent RNA synthesis was preserved throughout evolution.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / physiology
  • Hepatitis delta Antigens / chemistry
  • Hepatitis delta Antigens / physiology
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis*
  • RNA, Viral / chemistry
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Virus Replication


  • Hepatitis delta Antigens
  • RNA, Viral