Vectors derived from retroviridae offer particularly flexible properties in gene transfer applications given the numerous possible associations of various viral surface glycoproteins (determining cell tropism) with different types of retroviral cores (determining genome replication and integration). Lentiviral vectors should be preferred gene delivery vehicles over vectors derived from onco-retroviruses such as murine leukemia viruses (MLVs) that cannot transduce non-proliferating target cells. Generating lentiviral vectors pseudotyped with different viral glycoproteins (GPs) may modulate the physicochemical properties of the vectors, their interaction with the host immune system and their host range. There are however important gene transfer restrictions to some non-proliferative tissues or cell types and recent studies have shown that progenitor hematopoietic stem cells in G(0), non-activated primary blood lymphocytes or monocytes were not transducible by lentiviral vectors. Moreover, lentiviral vectors that have the capacity to deliver transgenes into specific tissues are expected to be of great value for various gene transfer applications in vivo. Several innovative approaches have been explored to overcome such problems that have given rise to novel concepts in the field and have provided promising results in preliminary evaluations in vivo. Here we review the different approaches explored to upgrade lentiviral vectors, aiming at developing vectors suitable for in vivo gene delivery.
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