A Divergent Hepatitis D-Like Agent in Birds

Viruses. 2018 Dec 17;10(12):720. doi: 10.3390/v10120720.


Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is currently only found in humans and is a satellite virus that depends on hepatitis B virus (HBV) envelope proteins for assembly, release, and entry. Using meta-transcriptomics, we identified the genome of a novel HDV-like agent in ducks. Sequence analysis revealed secondary structures that were shared with HDV, including self-complementarity and ribozyme features. The predicted viral protein shares 32% amino acid similarity to the small delta antigen of HDV and comprises a divergent phylogenetic lineage. The discovery of an avian HDV-like agent has important implications for the understanding of the origins of HDV and sub-viral agents.

Keywords: co-evolution; dabbling duck; hepatitis D virus; phylogeny.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Australia
  • Biological Coevolution
  • Bird Diseases / virology*
  • Ducks / virology*
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Genome, Viral
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis D / veterinary*
  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis Delta Virus / isolation & purification*
  • Phylogeny
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Sequence Analysis, DNA
  • Viral Proteins / genetics


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins