Due to the broad host suitability of viral vectors and their high gene delivery capacity, many researchers are focusing on viral vector-mediated gene therapy. Among the retroviruses, foamy viruses have been considered potential gene therapy vectors because of their non-pathogenicity. To date, the prototype foamy virus is the only retrovirus that has a high-resolution structure of intasomes, nucleoprotein complexes formed by integrase, and viral DNA. The integration of viral DNA into the host chromosome is an essential step for viral vector development. This process is mediated by virally encoded integrase, which catalyzes unique chemical reactions. Additionally, recent studies on foamy virus integrase elucidated the catalytic functions of its three distinct domains and their effect on viral pathogenicity. This review focuses on recent advancements in biochemical, structural, and functional studies of foamy virus integrase for gene therapy vector research.
Keywords: Foamy virus; intasome; integrase; viral vector.