Intracellular trafficking of retroviral vectors: Obstacles and advances

J. L. Anderson, T. J. Hope*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Retroviruses are efficient vehicles for delivering transgenes in vivo. Their ability to integrate into the host genome, providing a permanent imprint of their genes in the host, is a key asset for gene therapy. Furthermore, the lentivirus subset of retroviruses can infect nondividing as well as dividing cells. This expands the cell types capable of gene therapy, driving the development of lentiviral vectors. However, the precise mechanisms used by different retroviruses to efficiently deliver their genes into cell nuclei remains largely unclear. Understanding these molecular mechanisms may reveal features to improve the efficacy of current retroviral vectors. Moreover, this knowledge may expose elements pliable to other gene therapy vehicles to improve their in vivo performance and circumvent the biosafety concerns of using retroviral vectors. Therefore, the mechanisms underlying the early trafficking of retroviral vectors in host cells are reviewed here, as understood from studying the native retroviruses. Events after virus entry up to nuclear delivery of the viral cDNA are discussed. Cellular obstacles faced by these retroviral vectors and how they advance beyond these barriers is emphasized.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1667-1678
Number of pages12
JournalGene therapy
Issue number23
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • HIV
  • Import
  • Lentivirus
  • MLV
  • PIC
  • RTC
  • Review

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology


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