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J Virol. 2002 Jun;76(11):5411-21.

Efficient integration of recombinant adeno-associated virus DNA vectors requires a p5-rep sequence in cis.

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Molecular Biology Graduate Program, Hearst Research Foundation, Department of Microbiology and Immunology, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York 10021, USA.


The initial aim of this study was to combine attributes of adeno-associated virus (AAV) and adenovirus (Ad) gene therapy vectors to generate an Ad-AAV hybrid vector allowing efficient site-specific integration with Ad vectors. In executing our experimental strategy, we found that, in addition to the known incompatibility of Rep expression and Ad growth, an equally large obstacle was presented by the inefficiency of the integration event when using traditional recombinant AAV (rAAV) vectors. This study has addressed both of these problems. We have shown that a first-generation Ad can be generated that expresses Rep proteins at levels consistent with those found in wild-type AAV (wtAAV) infections and that Rep-mediated AAV persistence can occur in the presence of first-generation Ad vectors. Our finding that traditional rAAV plasmid vectors lack integration potency compared to wtAAV plasmid constructs (10- to 100-fold differences) was unexpected but led to the discovery of a previously unidentified AAV integration enhancer sequence element which functions in cis to an AAV inverted terminal repeat-flanked target gene. rAAV constructs containing left-end AAV sequence, including the p5-rep promoter sequence, integrate efficiently in a site-specific manner. The identification of this novel AAV integration enhancer element is consistent with previous studies, which have indicated that a high frequency of wtAAV recombinant junction formation occurs in the vicinity of the p5 promoter, and recent studies have demonstrated a role for this region in AAV DNA replication. Understanding the contribution of this element to the mechanism of AAV integration will be critical to the use of AAV vectors for targeted gene transfer applications.

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