Hepatitis E virus (HEV) is an unclassified virus with a positive-sense RNA genome and an undefined replication strategy. In order to determine whether the HEV genome is capped or not, we developed a reverse transcription-PCR assay that is based on the ability of a monoclonal antibody to recognize 7-methylguanosine (m7G). Antibody to m7G bound RNA extracted from virions of two different HEV genotypes. The cap analog competitively inhibited the binding of virion RNAs, demonstrating that HEV has a capped RNA genome
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