Journal of Medical Virology vol:82 issue:3 pages:379-389
Molecular evolutionary patterns of 62 HBV full-length genomes obtained from Belgian patients were characterized. Phylogenetic analysis revealed diverse HBV subgenotypes including A2 and A6 (46.8%), D1-D4 (38.8%), E (9.7%), C1 (1.6%), and B2 (1.6%). The study population consisted of patients with different ethnic origin (Caucasian, Turkish, Asian, Arab, and African). One HBV D/C recombinant isolate was identified, which encoded subtype adw2. An HBV subgenotype D4 with an aberrant subtype ayw4 was detected. Although none of the genotypes was associated with a specific disease outcome, several nucleotide substitutions, deletions and insertions were observed within the HBV preS1/S and X genes, particularly among patients with active chronic hepatitis B infection and patients with cirrhosis. Within the immunological domain of the HBsAg gene, the most frequent substitutions were sT125M and sT118A. High rates of precore and basal core promoter mutations were detected in patients infected with genotype D of HBV. Almost half of the patients who received lamivudine therapy for at least 1 year had HBV variants associated with lamivudine drug resistance. In conclusion, the most common HBV genotypes in West Europe (A and D) also prevail in Belgium. The highest degree of genetic diversity was detected in HBV genotype D. In addition, this study reveals the circulation of exotic HBV genotypes B, C, and E in Belgium. J. Med. Virol. 82:379-389, 2010. (c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.