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Curr Opin Biotechnol. 2007 Dec;18(6):537-45.

Virus-like particles-universal molecular toolboxes.

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Molecular Microbiology and Gene Therapy Unit, Institute of Medical Microbiology and Hygiene, University of Regensburg, 93053 Regensburg, Germany.


Virus-like particles (VLPs) are highly organised spheres that self-assemble from virus-derived structural antigens. These stable and versatile subviral particles possess excellent adjuvant properties capable of inducing innate and cognate immune responses. Commercialised VLP-based vaccines have been successful in protecting humans from hepatitis B virus (HBV) and human papillomavirus (HPV) infection and are currently explored for their potential to combat other infectious diseases and cancer. Much insight into VLP-mediated immune stimulation and optimised VLP design has been gained from human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-derived VLPs presenting promising components of current AIDS vaccine approaches. Owing to their unique features, VLPs and virosomes, the in vitro-reconstituted VLP counterparts, have recently gained ground in the field of nanobiotechnology as organic templates for the development of new biomaterials.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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