Woolly monkey hepatitis B virus (WMHBV) is a new member of Hepadnaviridae that was isolated from a New World monkey and is phylogenetically distinct from the HBV family. In this study, we explored the functional significance of sequence divergence in the HBV and WMHBV genomes. Independently expressed TP and RT domains of the WMHBV reverse transcriptase (Pol) formed a complex functional for in vitro nucleotide priming, consistent with previous results from priming reactions conducted with HBV. Transcomplementation assays between HBV and WMHBV TP and RT components for in vitro priming demonstrated functional compatibility, although priming with the combination of WMHBV RT and HBV TP was reduced. Examination of cross-species protein-protein interactions revealed that WMHBV core coprecipitated with HBV TP and RT, as well as with WMHBV TP and RT. Analysis in Huh7 cells revealed that WMHBV core and Pol complemented core-negative and Pol-negative HBV mutant genomes for replication. These results highlight the conservation of function despite significant sequence divergence in these viruses.
- Reverse transcriptase
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