Gastroenterology and Liver Diseases Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran ; Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, IR Iran.
Hepatitis C virus (HCV) is one of the leading causes of chronic liver disease. Seven genotypes and more than 80 subtypes have been identified for HCV so far. To date, 10 subtypes (3a to 3i; and 3k) of HCV genotype 3 have been identified. In 2006, two HCV isolates were reported from Iran that belonged to a new subtype of genotype 3. However, considering the consensus proposal for HCV genotype nomenclature, the available sequences of the new subtype did not correspond to the regions that are required to be analyzed prior to subtype assignment. During a study on the molecular epidemiology of HCV in Iran, an HCV isolate (FSM165) which seemed to belong to a new subtype of genotype 3 was obtained from a patient residing in Tehran, Iran.
The aim of this study was to assess the relatedness of isolate FM165 together with several sequences retrieved from the database to the new HCV-3 subtype reported from Iran in 2006.
MATERIALS AND METHODS:
Various parts of the genome including the core/E1 region and two segments of the NS5B region were amplified and sequenced for isolate FSM165. Furthermore, using the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool (BLAST), the HCV database was searched for sequences that had a high level of similarity with sequences of FSM165 isolate and such sequences were retrieved from the database. To investigate the relatedness of isolate FSM165 and also the retrieved sequences to a new HCV-3 subtype reported previously, phylogenetic analyses were performed using the Kimura two-parameter model and the neighbor joining method.
Phylogenetic analysis of the partial NS5B region demonstrated the relatedness of isolate FSM165 to the new subtype reported from Iran in 2006. Moreover, some core/E1 and NS5B sequences that had a high level of similarity with FSM165 isolate were found through searching the HCV database. These sequences were previously either misclassified or could not be accurately classified. Phylogenetic analyses showed that all of the described sequences belonged to the new subtype of HCV genotype 3.
Data suggests that the new subtype has a vast geographical distribution in Iran. The core/E1 and the NS5B sequences described in this paper can be used as references for the new HCV-3 subtype in future studies.