The human helper virus-dependent parvovirus adeno-associated virus (AAV) has been found in human female genital tissues including material from first trimester miscarriage. In the latter case, AAV type 2 (AAV-2) DNA and viral proteins were detected mainly in the trophoblast cell layer of placenta. In this report, we present evidence that AAV DNA is also present in established human trophoblast cell lines (JEG-3, JAr, BeWo) and in the human amnion cell line FL. In cells of these lines, AAV-2 DNA could be detected both by PCR and Southern blot analysis. Restriction enzyme analysis indicated that AAV DNA was integrated into the host cell genome. Although the cell lines supported AAV replication when infected with AAV-2 and adenovirus type 2 (Ad2) as a helper virus, superinfection with Ad2 alone did not induce replication of AAV DNA, i.e. it failed to rescue AAV from its integrated state. This is probably due to rearrangements within the integrated AAV genome. The presence of AAV DNA in cells derived from human embryonic tissue corroborates the suggestion that human embryonic tissue may be one of the targets of AAV infection.


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