Arrangement of nucleotide sequences in adeno-associated virus DNA

Hubert W. Gerry, Thomas J. Kelly, Kenneth I. Berns

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32 Scopus citations


There are two types of adeno-associated virus virions which contain complementary single-stranded DNA genomes of about 1.4 × 106 daltons. The purified complementary single polynucleotide chains anneal to form duplex linear monomers, circular monomers, and linear dimers, in addition to other less well-defined structures, as identified by sedimentation and electron microscopy. All duplex species are formed by linear single polynucleotide chains of unit length, thus duplex circles and linear dimers are assumed to be held together by relatively short overlapping hydrogen-bonded regions. The initial linear monomers present after annealing the complementary single strands do not form duplex circles or oligomers when re-exposed to annealing conditions, but DNA which sediments as linear monomers after heating linear dimers at a temperature from 7 to 25 deg. C below the Tm of duplex AAV † AAV, adeno-associated virus; SV40, simian virus 40. DNA does re-form oligomers and circles when exposed to annealing conditions. Denaturation and reannealing of any duplex species leads to the formation of all forms, indicating that the over-all single strand composition of all species is equivalent. Disruption of duplex circles by limited exonucleolytic digestion using either 3′ or 5′ exonucleases leads to the conclusion that the overlap region may have either 3′ or 5′ termini and that the overlap region represents less than 6% of the length of the genome. Exonucleolytic digestion of linear monomers to the extent of 50% leaves polynucleotide chains which cannot reanneal after denaturation, thus AAV DNA is not randomly circularly permuted. Duplex linear monomers which do not form circles when exposed to annealing conditions do form duplex circles after 1% exonuclease III digestion. A model consistent with these data is one in which the linear single polynucleotide chains present in AAV virions consist of two or more permutations. All of these chains contain terminal repetitions and their start points occur within a limited region, representing < 6% of the length of the genome. According to this interpretation AAV DNA would exist within the virion as a linear single polynucleotide chain or is cleaved at a few specific sites during extraction.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)207-212,IN1,213-225
JournalJournal of molecular biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 15 1973

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology


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