Enveloped, spherical about 22 nm in diameter. The virion is covered by helper HBV membrane proteins.
Circular, ssRNA(-) genome of 1,68 kb. Most of the genome displays complementary strands. Replication occurs by rolling circle, single genome being cleaved/ligated by HDV ribozymes.
A single ORF encodes for S-HDAg. Late in infection, genome editing by host ADAR1 extends the S-HDAg ORF by 19 amino acids, inducing production of L-HDAg. Edited genome seems to be unable to replicate.
- Virus attaches to host receptors though Major surface antigen.
- Fusion of virus membrane with the vesicle membrane; ribonucleocapsid is released in the cytoplasm and migrates to the nucleus.
- Transcription of S-HDAg, promoting viral transcription and replication
- Symmetrical rolling circle replication by host DNA-dependent RNA polymerase II
- later, genomic RNA is edited by host ADAR1, leading to L-HDAg expression which induce packaging of HDV genome at the RE.
- Budding by helper HBV proteins.