Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Microbiology & Immunology

First Advisor

Darrell Peterson


Hepatitis B virus is a member of the hepadnavirus family. The hepatitis B virus core gene codes for two proteins viz. core protein and pre-core protein. These proteins assemble to form particles viz. HBcAg and HBeAg respectively. The structure of the HBcAg has been widely studied but very little is known about the structure of HBeAg. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the disulfide bonding patterns in HBeAg. Recombinant HBeAg was isolated from E.coli and used for this study along with various mutants of HBeAg. There are four cysteines present in HBeAg each at position -7, 48, 61 and 107. From this study it can be inferred that the cysteine at 61 and 48 were found to be involved in inter-molecular disulfide bonds between the cysteine at 61 and 48 of other identical monomers. These di-mers were further inter-molecularly linked with cysteine at -7 to form chains. Moreover, the cysteine at -7 and cysteine at 107 were sometimes involved in intra-molecular disulfide bond formation. Thus, the HBeAg in a solution was found be particulate with a heterogeneous pattern of inter chain disulfide bonds.


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Date of Submission

November 2010