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J Virol. 1997 Mar; 71(3): 1842–1849.
PMCID: PMC191254

Construction of adenovirus vectors through Cre-lox recombination.


Two barriers prevent adenovirus-based vectors from having wide application. One is the difficulty of making new adenoviruses, and the second is the strong immunological reaction to viral proteins. Here we describe uses of Cre-lox recombination to overcome these problems. First, we demonstrate a simple method for constructing E1-substituted adenoviruses. Second, we demonstrate a method to construct adenovirus vectors carrying recombinant genes in place of all of the viral genes, so-called gutless adenovirus vectors. The pivotal feature in each method is the use of a negatively selected adenovirus named psi5. We engineered a cis-acting selection into psi5 by flanking its packaging site with loxP sites. When psi5 was grown in cells making a high level of Cre recombinase, the packaging site was deleted by recombination and the yield of psi5 was reduced to 5% of the wild-type level. To make a new E1-substituted virus, we used psi5 as a donor virus and recombined it with a shuttle vector via a loxP site. The resulting recombinant virus has a single loxP site next to the packaging site and therefore outgrows psi5 in the presence of Cre recombinase. To make a gutless virus, we used psi5 as a helper virus. The only viral sequences included in the gutless vector are those needed in cis for its replication and packaging. We found that a loxP site next to the packaging site of the gutless virus was necessary to neutralize homologous recombination between psi5 and the gutless viruses within their packaging domains.

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Selected References

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