Abstract: New-generation retroviral vectors have potential applications in vaccination and gene therapy. Foamy viruses are particularly interesting as vectors, because they are not associated to any disease. Vector research is mainly based on primate foamy viruses (PFV), but cats are an alternative animal model, due to their smaller size and the existence of a cognate feline foamy virus (FFV). The potential of replication-competent (RC) FFV vectors for vaccination and replication-deficient (RD) FFV-based vectors for gene delivery purposes has been studied over the past years. In this review, the key achievements and functional evaluation of the existing vectors from in vitro cell culture systems to out-bred cats will be described. The data presented here demonstrate the broad application spectrum of FFV-based vectors, especially in pathogen-specific prophylactic and therapeutic vaccination using RD vectors in cats and in classical gene delivery. In the cat-based system, FFV-based vectors provide an advantageous platform to evaluate and optimize the applicability, efficacy and safety of foamy virus (FV) vectors, especially the understudied aspect of FV cell and organ tropism.
Keywords: retrovirus vector; foamy virus; vaccine vector; gene therapy vector; animal model; spumaretrovirus; replication-deficient vector; replication-competent vector
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Liu, W.; Lei, J.; Liu, Y.; Lukic, D.S.; Räthe, A.-M.; Bao, Q.; Kehl, T.; Bleiholder, A.; Hechler, T.; Löchelt, M. Feline Foamy Virus-Based Vectors: Advantages of an Authentic Animal Model. Viruses 2013, 5, 1702-1718.
Liu W, Lei J, Liu Y, Lukic DS, Räthe A-M, Bao Q, Kehl T, Bleiholder A, Hechler T, Löchelt M. Feline Foamy Virus-Based Vectors: Advantages of an Authentic Animal Model. Viruses. 2013; 5(7):1702-1718.
Liu, Weibin; Lei, Janet; Liu, Yang; Lukic, Dragana S.; Räthe, Ann-Mareen; Bao, Qiuying; Kehl, Timo; Bleiholder, Anne; Hechler, Torsten; Löchelt, Martin. 2013. "Feline Foamy Virus-Based Vectors: Advantages of an Authentic Animal Model." Viruses 5, no. 7: 1702-1718.