Hepatitis delta virus (HDV) is unique among animal viruses. HDV is a satellite virus of the hepatitis B virus (HBV), however it shares no sequence similarity with its helper virus and replicates independently in infected cells. HDV is the smallest human pathogenic RNA virus and shares numerous characteristics with viroids. Like viroids, HDV has a circular RNA genome which adopts a rod-like secondary structure, possesses ribozyme domains, replicates in the nucleus of infected cells by redirecting host DNA-dependent RNA polymerases (RNAP), and relies heavily on host proteins for its replication due to its small size and limited protein coding capacity. These similarities suggest an evolutionary relationship between HDV and viroids, and information on HDV could allow a better understanding of viroids and might globally help understanding the pathogenesis and molecular biology of these subviral RNAs. In this review, we discuss the host involvement in HDV replication and its implication for HDV pathogenesis.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited