In human KB cells productively infected with adenovirus 2 (Ad2) high mol. wt. forms of DNA have been described that contain virus DNA integrated into cellular DNA. The implications of this discovery are not yet understood. We studied the competence for the formation of such DNA forms of cell species closely related with respect to their origin, although diverse with respect to their proliferative capacity. Eight human and simian cell species infected with three adenovirus strains, representing adenovirus subgroups of different oncogenic potential, were included in the study. The cell systems comprised primary cells of various tissue origin, semi-permanent cells and cell lines originally derived from carcinoma cells. A DNA species was recognized as virus high mol. wt. DNA by the criteria of its high sedimentation value in alkaline sucrose gradients, ability to hybridize to virus DNA, a buoyant density intermediate to that of virus DNA and cellular DNA and the ability to liberate DNA with the density of virus DNA upon ultrasonic fragmentation. The results indicate that formation of the high mol. wt. DNA is not correlated with the state of transformation of the cell nor with the oncogenic potential of the infecting adenovirus strain and could be demonstrated in all virus cell combinations tested. Thus integration of virus sequences into the cellular genome appears to be a common event in productive infection of many adenovirus-cell systems, though cellular as well as virus factors seem to exert modulating influences.


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