Spuma- or foamy viruses (FV), endemic in most non-human primates, cats, cattle and horses, comprise a special type of retrovirus that has developed a replication strategy combining features of both retroviruses and hepadnaviruses. Unique features of FVs include an apparent apathogenicity in natural hosts as well as zoonotically infected humans, a reverse transcription of the packaged viral RNA genome late during viral replication resulting in an infectious DNA genome in released FV particles and a special particle release strategy depending capsid and glycoprotein coexpression and specific interaction between both components. In addition, particular features with respect to the integration profile into the host genomic DNA discriminate FV from orthoretroviruses. It appears that some inherent properties of FV vectors set them favorably apart from orthoretroviral vectors and ask for additional basic research on the viruses as well as on the application in Gene Therapy. This review will summarize the current knowledge of FV biology and the development as a gene transfer system. © 2011 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.
Lindemann, D., & Rethwilm, A. (2011, May). Foamy virus biology and its application for vector development. Viruses. https://doi.org/10.3390/v3050561