Nonsegmented negative-strand RNA viruses: genetics and manipulation of viral genomes

Annu Rev Genet. 1998;32:123-62. doi: 10.1146/annurev.genet.32.1.123.


Protocols to recover negative-stand RNA viruses entirely from cDNA have been established in recent years, opening up this virus group to the detailed analysis of molecular genetics and virus biology. The unique gene-expression strategy of nonsegmented negative-strand RNA viruses, which involves replication of ribonucleoprotein complexes and sequential synthesis of free mRNAs, has also allowed the use of these viruses to express heterologous sequences. There are advantages in terms of easy manipulation of constructs, high capacity for foreign sequences, genetically stable expression, and the possibility of adjusting expression levels. Fascinating prospects for biomedical applications and transient gene therapy are offered by chimeric virus vectors carrying novel envelope protein genes and targeted to defined host cells.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Gene Expression
  • Genetic Engineering
  • Genetic Vectors
  • Genome, Viral
  • RNA Editing
  • RNA Viruses / classification
  • RNA Viruses / genetics*
  • RNA Viruses / physiology
  • RNA, Viral / biosynthesis
  • RNA, Viral / genetics
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Viral Proteins / chemistry
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Virus Replication


  • RNA, Viral
  • Viral Proteins