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J Virol. 2013 Aug;87(15):8559-68. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01135-13. Epub 2013 May 29.

High-throughput sequencing reveals principles of adeno-associated virus serotype 2 integration.

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Tri-Institutional MD-PhD Program, Weill Medical College of Cornell University, New York, New York, USA.


Viral integrations are important in human biology, yet genome-wide integration profiles have not been determined for many viruses. Adeno-associated virus (AAV) infects most of the human population and is a prevalent gene therapy vector. AAV integrates into the human genome with preference for a single locus, termed AAVS1. However, the genome-wide integration of AAV has not been defined, and the principles underlying this recombination remain unclear. Using a novel high-throughput approach, integrant capture sequencing, nearly 12 million AAV junctions were recovered from a human cell line, providing five orders of magnitude more data than were previously available. Forty-five percent of integrations occurred near AAVS1, and several thousand novel integration hotspots were identified computationally. Most of these occurred in genes, with dozens of hotspots targeting known oncogenes. Viral replication protein binding sites (RBS) and transcriptional activity were major factors favoring integration. In a first for eukaryotic viruses, the data reveal a unique asymmetric integration profile with distinctive directional orientation of viral genomes. These studies provide a new understanding of AAV integration biology through the use of unbiased high-throughput data acquisition and bioinformatics.

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