Research on human enteroviruses has resulted in the identification of more than 100 enterovirus types, which use more than 10 protein receptors and/or attachment factors required in cell binding and initiation of the replication cycle. Many of these “viral” receptors are overexpressed in cancer cells. Receptor binding and the ability to replicate in specific target cells define the tropism and pathogenesis of enterovirus types, because cellular infection often results in cytolytic response, i.e.
, disruption of the cells. Viral tropism and cytolytic properties thus make native enteroviruses prime candidates for oncolytic virotherapy. Copy DNA cloning and modification of enterovirus genomes have resulted in the generation of enterovirus vectors with properties that are useful in therapy or in vaccine trials where foreign antigenic epitopes are expressed from or on the surface of the vector virus. The small genome size and compact particle structure, however, set limits to enterovirus genome modifications. This review focuses on the therapeutic use of native and recombinant enteroviruses and the methods that have been applied to modify enterovirus genomes for therapy.
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