Helper-free stocks of recombinant adeno-associated viruses: normal integration does not require viral gene expression

J Virol. 1989 Sep;63(9):3822-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.63.9.3822-3828.1989.


A method is described for the production of recombinant adeno-associated virus (AAV) stocks that contain no detectable wild-type helper AAV. The recombinant viruses contained only the terminal 191 nucleotides of the AAV chromosome bracketing a nonviral marker gene. trans-Acting AAV functions were provided by a helper DNA in which the terminal 191 nucleotides of the AAV chromosome were substituted with adenovirus terminal sequences. Although the helper DNA did not appear to replicate, it expressed AAV functions at a substantially higher level than did DNA molecules that contained neither AAV nor adenovirus termini. Since the recombinant viruses with AAV termini contained no sequence homology to the helper DNA, no wild-type AAV was generated by homologous recombination within infected cells. Since the terminal region of the AAV chromosome is required for replication and encapsidation, only recombinant DNAs were amplified and packaged into AAV virions. When human cells were infected at a high multiplicity with a recombinant virus carrying a drug resistance marker gene, approximately 70% of the infected cells gave rise to colonies stably expressing the marker. The recombinant virus gene was then used to generate drug-resistant human cell lines subsequent to infection. These cells contained stably integrated copies of the recombinant viral DNA which could be excised, replicated, and encapsidated by infection with wild-type AAV plus adenovirus. Thus, AAV gene expression is not required for normal integration of an infecting DNA containing AAV termini.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Recombinant / metabolism
  • DNA, Viral / metabolism
  • Dependovirus / genetics*
  • Genes, Viral*
  • Helper Viruses / genetics
  • Parvoviridae / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Transduction, Genetic


  • DNA, Recombinant
  • DNA, Viral