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Hepatitis B virus (HBV) polymerase is divided into terminal protein, spacer, reverse transcriptase, and RNase domains. Spacer has previously been considered dispensable, merely acting as a tether between other domains or providing plasticity to accommodate deletions and mutations. We explore evidence for the role of spacer sequence, structure, and function in HBV evolution and lineage, consider its associations with escape from drugs, vaccines, and immune responses, and review its potential impacts on disease outcomes.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of Virology


American Society for Microbiology

Publication Date