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J Virol. 1999 Oct;73(10):8235-44.

Factors affecting the terminal resolution site endonuclease, helicase, and ATPase activities of adeno-associated virus type 2 Rep proteins.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular and Cellular Biology, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The Rep68 and Rep78 proteins (Rep68/78) of adeno-associated virus type 2 (AAV) are critical for AAV replication and site-specific integration. They bind specifically to the AAV inverted terminal repeats (ITRs) and possess ATPase, helicase, and strand-specific/site-specific endonuclease activities. In the present study, we further characterized the AAV Rep68/78 helicase, ATPase, and endonuclease activities by using a maltose binding protein-Rep68 fusion (MBP-Rep68Delta) produced in Escherichia coli cells and Rep78 produced in vitro in a rabbit reticulocyte lysate system. We found that the minimal length of single-stranded DNA capable of stimulating the ATPase activity of MBP-Rep68Delta is 100 to 200 bases. The degree of stimulation correlated positively with the length of single-stranded DNA added to the reaction mixture. We then determined the ATP concentration needed for optimal MBP-Rep68Delta helicase activity and showed that the helicase is active over a wide range of ATP concentrations. We determined the directionality of MBP-Rep68Delta helicase activity and found that it appears to move in a 3' to 5' direction, which is consistent with a model in which AAV Rep68/78 participates in AAV DNA replication by unwinding DNA ahead of a cellular DNA polymerase. In this report, we also demonstrate that single-stranded DNA is capable of inhibiting the MBP-Rep68Delta or Rep78 endonuclease activity greater than 10-fold. In addition, we show that removal of the secondary Rep68/78 binding site, which is found only in the hairpin form of the AAV ITR, causes a three- to eightfold reduction in the ability of the ITR to be used as a substrate for the Rep78 or MBP-Rep68Delta endonuclease activity. This suggests that contact between Rep68/78 and this secondary element may play an important role in the Rep-mediated endonuclease activity.

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