Retroviral vectors have become a standard tool for gene transfer technology. Compared with other gene transfer systems, retroviral vectors have several advantages, including their ability to transduce a variety of cell types, to integrate efficiently into the genomic DNA of the recipient cells and to express the transduced gene at high levels. The relatively well understood biology of retroviruses has made possible the development of packaging cell lines which provide in trans all the viral proteins required for viral particle formation. The design of different types of packaging cells has evolved to reduce the possibility of helper virus production. The host range of retroviruses has been expanded by pseudotyping the vectors with heterologous viral glycoproteins and receptor-specific ligands. The development of lentivirus vectors has allowed efficient gene transfer to quiescent cells. This review describes different strategies adopted for developing vectors to be used in gene therapy applications.
Copyright 2000 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.