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Trends Biotechnol. 2015 Dec;33(12):777-790. doi: 10.1016/j.tibtech.2015.09.008. Epub 2015 Oct 20.

Surface-Engineered Viral Vectors for Selective and Cell Type-Specific Gene Delivery.

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Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, 63225 Langen, Germany; German Cancer Consortium, 69120 Heidelberg, Germany. Electronic address:
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut, 63225 Langen, Germany.
Institute of Experimental Hematology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany; Center for Molecular Medicine Cologne (CMMC), University of Cologne, 50931 Cologne, Germany; German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), partner sites Bonn-Cologne and Hannover-Braunschweig, Germany.


Recent progress in gene transfer technology enables the delivery of genes precisely to the application-relevant cell type ex vivo on cultivated primary cells or in vivo on local or systemic administration. Gene vectors based on lentiviruses or adeno-associated viruses can be engineered such that they use a cell surface marker of choice for cell entry instead of their natural receptors. Binding to the surface marker is mediated by a targeting ligand displayed on the vector particle surface, which can be a peptide, single-chain antibody, or designed ankyrin repeat protein. Examples include vectors that deliver genes to specialized endothelial cells or lymphocytes, tumor cells, or particular cells of the nervous system with potential applications in gene function studies and molecular medicine.


AAV vector; cell entry receptor; directed evolution; lentiviral vector; rational design; surface display

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