GB virus B as a model for hepatitis C virus

Burton Beames, Deborah Chavez, Robert E. Lanford

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    57 Scopus citations


    GB viruses A and B (GBV-A and GBV-B) are members of the Flaviviridae family and are isolated from tamarins injected with serum from a human hepatitis patient. Along with a related human virus, GB virus C, or alternatively, hepatitis G virus (GBV-C/HGV), the three viruses represent the GB agents. Of the three viruses, GBV-B has been proposed as a potential surrogate model for the study of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections of humans. GBV-B is phylogenetically most closely related to HCV and causes an acute, self-resolving hepatitis in tamarins as indicated by an increase in alanine aminotransferase and changes in liver histology. Similarities between GBV-B and HCV are found at the nucleotide sequence level with the two viruses sharing 28% amino acid homology over the lengths of their open reading frames. Short regions have even higher levels of homology that are functionally significant as shown by the ability of the GBV-B NS3 protease to cleave recombinant HCV polyprotein substrates. The shared protease substrate specificities suggest that GBV-B may be useful in testing antiviral compounds for activity against HCV. Although there are numerous similarities between GBV-B and HCV, there are important differences in that HCV frequently causes chronic infections in people, whereas GBV-B appears to cause only acute infections. The acute versus chronic course of infection may point to important differences between the two viruses that, along with the numerous similarities, will make GBV-B in tamarins a good surrogate model for HCV.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)152-160
    Number of pages9
    JournalILAR Journal
    Issue number2
    StatePublished - 2001


    • Chronic infection
    • GB agents
    • GB virus B
    • GBV-B
    • HCV
    • Hepatitis C virus
    • Primary hepatocytes
    • Tamarins

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Animal Science and Zoology
    • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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