Cover Picture: Life cycle of hepatitis B virus (HBV). Mature HBV virions enter hepatocytes through the sodium taurocholate cotransporting polypeptide receptor on the cell membrane. After release from the viral envelope, the nucleocapsid is then transported to the nucleus where the genome is repaired to form covalently-closed circular DNA (cccDNA). Using cccDNA as the template, viral RNAs are transcribed and exported into the cytoplasm where they are translated to form the viral proteins. Additionally, pregenomic RNA (pgRNA) is packaged by core protein, along with the polymerase protein, and the viral genome is replicated through reverse transcription of the pgRNA to form the - strand, followed by partial synthesis of the + strand. Mature nucleocapsids can then either be recycled back to the nucleus to maintain a pool of cccDNA, or enveloped and secreted through the ESCRT pathway. See text for a more detailed description of viral life cycle.
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