Recent studies with adeno-associated virus (AAV) have shown that site-specific integration is directed by DNA sequence motifs that are present in both the viral replication origin and the chromosomal preintegration DNA and that specify binding and nicking sites for the viral regulatory Rep protein. This finding raised the question as to whether other parvovirus regulatory proteins might direct site-specific recombination with DNA targets that contain origin sequences functionally equivalent to those described for AAV. To investigate this question, active and inactive forms of the minute virus of mice (MVM) 3' replication origin, derived from a replicative-form dimer-bridge intermediate, were propagated in an Epstein-Barr virus-based shuttle vector which replicates as an episome in a cell-cycle-dependent manner in mammalian cells. Upon MVM infection of these cells, the infecting genome integrated into episomes containing the active-origin sequence reported to be efficiently nicked by the MVM regulatory protein NS1. In contrast, MVM did not integrate into episomes containing either the inactive form of the origin sequence reported to be inefficiently nicked by NS1 or the active form from which the NS1 consensus nick site had been deleted. The structure of the cloned MVM episomal recombinants displayed several features previously described for AAV episomal and chromosomal recombinants. The findings indicate that the rules which govern AAV site-specific recombination also apply to MVM and suggest that site-specific chromosomal insertions may be achievable with different autonomous parvovirus replicator proteins which recognize binding and nicking sites on the target DNA
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