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Viruses. 2013 Apr 10;5(4):1075-98. doi: 10.3390/v5041075.

Foamy virus budding and release.

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Institute of Virology, Medical Faculty Carl Gustav Carus, Technische Universität Dresden, Fetscherstr. 74, Dresden 01307, Germany.


Like all other viruses, a successful egress of functional particles from infected cells is a prerequisite for foamy virus (FV) spread within the host. The budding process of FVs involves steps, which are shared by other retroviruses, such as interaction of the capsid protein with components of cellular vacuolar protein sorting (Vps) machinery via late domains identified in some FV capsid proteins. Additionally, there are features of the FV budding strategy quite unique to the spumaretroviruses. This includes secretion of non-infectious subviral particles and a strict dependence on capsid-glycoprotein interaction for release of infectious virions from the cells. Virus-like particle release is not possible since FV capsid proteins lack a membrane-targeting signal. It is noteworthy that in experimental systems, the important capsid-glycoprotein interaction could be bypassed by fusing heterologous membrane-targeting signals to the capsid protein, thus enabling glycoprotein-independent egress. Aside from that, other systems have been developed to enable envelopment of FV capsids by heterologous Env proteins. In this review article, we will summarize the current knowledge on FV budding, the viral components and their domains involved as well as alternative and artificial ways to promote budding of FV particle structures, a feature important for alteration of target tissue tropism of FV-based gene transfer systems.

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