Hepatitis B virus reverse transcriptase and its many roles in hepadnaviral genomic replication

Infect Agents Dis. Apr-Jun 1994;3(2-3):85-93.


The replication of hepatitis B virus DNA proceeds through reverse transcription of a pregenomic RNA intermediate, a reaction that takes place within viral nucleocapsids and is catalyzed by the viral P protein. P protein is involved in all phases of the reaction, serving as (a) a recognition factor for the selective encapsidation of the pregenomic RNA template; (b) the protein primer for the initiation of minus strand DNA synthesis; (c) the reverse transcriptase and DNA polymerase involved in strand elongation; and (d) the RNaseH activity required to remove RNA template prior to plus strand synthesis. P protein is capable of site-specific RNA recognition, specifically binding to a stem-loop structure at the 5' end of pregenomic RNA. This interaction is required for both RNA encapsidation and reverse transcription.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • DNA, Viral / genetics
  • Genome, Viral*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / metabolism*
  • Virus Replication / genetics


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Viral
  • RNA-Directed DNA Polymerase