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Viruses 2014, 6(9), 3612-3642; doi:10.3390/v6093612

Retroviral Vectors for Analysis of Viral Mutagenesis and Recombination

Institute for Molecular Virology, University of Minnesota, Moos Tower 18-242, 515 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Molecular, Cellular, Developmental Biology & Genetics Graduate Program, University of Minnesota, 6-160 Jackson Hall, 321 Church St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Department of Diagnostic and Biological Sciences, School of Dentistry, University of Minnesota, 515 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Department of Microbiology, University of Minnesota, 420 Delaware St SE, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 August 2014 / Revised: 15 September 2014 / Accepted: 17 September 2014 / Published: 24 September 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Retroviral Vectors)
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Retrovirus population diversity within infected hosts is commonly high due in part to elevated rates of replication, mutation, and recombination. This high genetic diversity often complicates the development of effective diagnostics, vaccines, and antiviral drugs. This review highlights the diverse vectors and approaches that have been used to examine mutation and recombination in retroviruses. Retroviral vectors for these purposes can broadly be divided into two categories: those that utilize reporter genes as mutation or recombination targets and those that utilize viral genes as targets of mutation or recombination. Reporter gene vectors greatly facilitate the detection, quantification, and characterization of mutants and/or recombinants, but may not fully recapitulate the patterns of mutagenesis or recombination observed in native viral gene sequences. In contrast, the detection of mutations or recombination events directly in viral genes is more biologically relevant but also typically more challenging and inefficient. We will highlight the advantages and disadvantages of the various vectors and approaches used as well as propose ways in which they could be improved. View Full-Text
Keywords: retrovirus; lentivirus; reverse transcription; evolution; mutation; recombination; retroviral vector retrovirus; lentivirus; reverse transcription; evolution; mutation; recombination; retroviral vector

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Rawson, J.M.; Mansky, L.M. Retroviral Vectors for Analysis of Viral Mutagenesis and Recombination. Viruses 2014, 6, 3612-3642.

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