Characterization of adenovirus-induced inverted terminal repeat-independent amplification of integrated adeno-associated virus rep-cap sequences

J Virol. 2001 Jan;75(1):375-83. doi: 10.1128/JVI.75.1.375-383.2001.


Stable packaging cell lines expressing the rep and cap genes for recombinant adeno-associated virus type 2 (rAAV-2) assembly constitute an attractive alternative to transient transfection protocols. We recently characterized a stable HeLa rep-cap cell clone (HeRC32) and demonstrated that upon vector transfection and adenovirus infection, efficient rAAV assembly correlated with a 100-fold amplification of the integrated rep-cap sequence with the inverted terminal repeats (ITRs) deleted. We now report a more detailed analysis of this phenomenon and highlight the key cellular and viral factors involved. Determination of the rep-cap copy number of HeRC32 cells indicated that maximum rep-cap amplification occurred between 24 and 48 h following adenovirus infection. Analysis by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis of adenovirus-infected HeRC32 cells indicated that amplified rep-cap sequences were found in an extrachromosomal form. Amplification of the rep-cap sequence with the ITRs deleted was not dependent on adenovirus replication and still occurred when the highly specific adenovirus polymerase was inactivated. In contrast, amplification was inhibited in the presence of aphidicolin, indicating that cellular polymerases were needed. Our study also documented that among the adenovirus gene products, the DNA-binding protein (DBP) was essential, since rep-cap amplification was severely abrogated when HeRC32 cells were infected at a nonpermissive temperature with an adenovirus mutant encoding a thermosensitive DBP. Furthermore, expression of DBP alone in HeRC32 cells was sufficient to induce a sustained level of rep-cap amplification. Finally, immunofluorescence analysis showed that HeRC32 cells expressing the DBP also simultaneously expressed the Rep proteins, suggesting a possible involvement of the latter in rep-cap amplification. Indeed, the lack of detectable amplification in an adenovirus-infected stable rep-cap HeLa cell clone unable to produce Rep proteins further supported that, among the viral gene products, both the DBP and Rep proteins are necessary to induce the targeted amplification of the integrated rep-cap sequences in the absence of the AAV ITRs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / physiology*
  • Capsid / genetics*
  • DNA Helicases / genetics*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / physiology
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Gene Amplification*
  • HeLa Cells
  • Humans
  • Open Reading Frames*
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid*
  • Trans-Activators / genetics*
  • Virus Assembly


  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Trans-Activators
  • replication initiator protein
  • DNA Helicases