Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a major cause of liver disease. HBV primarily infects hepatocytes by a still poorly understood mechanism. After an endocytotic process, the nucleocapsids are released into the cytoplasm and the relaxed circular rcDNA genome is transported towards the nucleus where it is converted into covalently closed circular cccDNA. Replication of the viral genome occurs via an RNA pregenome (pgRNA) that binds to HBV polymerase (P). P initiates pgRNA encapsidation and reverse transcription inside the capsid. Matured, rcDNA containing nucleocapsids can re-deliver the RC-DNA to the nucleus, or be secreted via interaction with the envelope proteins as progeny virions.
Keywords: entry; hepatitis B virus; liver disease; morphogenesis.