GBV-B, a member of the Flaviviridae family of viruses, is the virus most closely related to HCV, and GBV-B infection in tamarin monkeys might represent a valuable surrogate animal model of HCV infection. In the current study, GBV-B was successfully transmitted to two marmosets (Callithrix jaccus). The infection resulted in viremia of 14- and 17-week duration, respectively, and was accompanied by elevation of isocitrate dehydrogenase activity. These data confirm that marmosets might represent an attractive model for GBV-B infection. The sequence of GBV-B NS5A, which was previously reported to have one of the highest mutation rates during infection in tamarins, was determined for viruses recovered from the inoculum and from marmoset blood samples obtained at weeks 1, 8, and 14 post inoculation in one marmoset and at weeks 2, 8, and 17 post inoculation in the other marmoset. In both animals, we detected four substitutions (R1945K, K2052G, F2196L, and G2268E), in the virus recovered immediately before viral clearance. Interestingly, two of these mutations (F2196L and G2268E) were described recently for viruses recovered from persistently infected tamarins. Appearance of these mutations presumably reflects a mechanism of immune escape rather than adaptation of the virus to a new host. © 2005 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
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