Infection with a genotype G strain of hepatitis B virus (HBV-G) often occurs as a co-infection with HBV genotype A. In mono-infection with HBV-G, the production of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), HBe antigen and anti-HBe seems diminished, hampering the serological diagnosis of HBV-G mono-infection. To corroborate this notion, we studied in detail a series of samples of a blood donor with transient HBV-G infection. In this donor, during the temporary presence of HBV DNA and the seroconversion to HBcore antibodies (anti-HBc), no HBsAg or hepatitis B e antigen was detected. During follow-up, no anti-HBe appeared. Multiple resistance mutations to lamivudine were present, demonstrating primary infection with a resistant HBV strain. Cloning and sequencing indicated that no other HBV genotype but genotype G was present. Like other HBV-G isolates, the DNA sequence of the HBsAg a-determinant showed no mutations that could explain the failure to detect HBsAg. Our findings demonstrate that HBV genotype G mono-infection occurs and that routine serology is unsuitable for its detection.
© 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.