- •Amino acid (aa) substitutions in the core protein (Cp) of occult HBV infection (OBI) strains were identified.
- •An OBI mutant strain (SZA) carrying 9 aa substitutions in Cp was characterised in vitro (cells) and in vivo (mice).
- •The functional impact of individual aa substitutions in pHBV1.3-SZA Cp replicons was assessed in vitro and in vivo.
- •The Cp W62R mutation significantly reduced HBV protein production.
- •The Cp W62R and its combination mutations might contribute to the occurrence of OBI.
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Author names in bold designate shared co-first authorship