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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

DNA replication promotes high-frequency homologous recombination during Autographa californica multiple nuclear polyhedrosis virus infection.

The relative ease with which foreign genes can be incorporated into the genome of the baculovirus Autographa californica nuclear polyhedrosis virus (AcMNPV) indicates that a highly efficient recombinational process exists within infected cells. However, it is unclear whether this is due to marker transfer mediated by host cell enzymes or recombination events promoted by AcMNPV itself. To address the latter possibility, a pair of inverted repeat IS50 elements derived from the bacterial transposon Tn5 was inserted into the polyhedrin gene locus of the AcMNPV genome. Inversion of Tn5 sequences arising from recombination between its IS50 repeats could be readily detected in this virus, indicating that AcMNPV DNA undergoes high-frequency recombination during infection. To further characterize this process, a transient recombination assay was developed and used to identify the cis- and trans-acting requirements for Tn5 inversion in AcMNPV. A transfected Tn5-containing plasmid was found to undergo the same sequence inversion events seen in the viral genome, but only if it also contained a putative AcMNPV origin of replication (homologous region 2) in cis and was replicated by AcMNPV gene products supplied in trans. Taken together, these results indicated that recombination events which occur in infected cells were strictly dependent upon AcMNPV-mediated DNA replication. Direct support for this hypothesis was provided by the observation that the minimal set of AcMNPV genes that was essential for plasmid DNA replication also promoted recombination events leading to Tn5 inversion in the absence of any other viral function. Finally, using a panel of deletion mutants of the IS50 elements in Tn5, sequence inversion was shown to be the result of homologous rather than site-specific recombination, since it occurred independently of a discrete sequence within the transposon. These results demonstrate that the AcMNPV DNA replication machinery exhibits a strong propensity to promote homologous recombination events during infection and is likely to play a role in the high frequency of marker transfer observed in this virus.[1]


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