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Curr Opin Immunol. 2001 Aug;13(4):496-504.

Retroviruses as tools to study the immune system.

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Department of Biology, California Institute of Technology, MC147-75, 1200 E California Boulevard, Pasadena, CA 91125, USA.


Retrovirus-based vectors provide an efficient means to introduce and express genes in cells of the immune system and have become a popular tool to study immune function. They are easy to manipulate and provide stable, long-term gene expression because they integrate into the genome. Current retroviral vectors do have limitations that affect their usefulness in certain applications. However, recent advances suggest a number of ways in which these vectors might be improved to extend their utility in immunological research.

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