Gene delivery/expression vectors have been used as fundamental technologies in gene therapy since the 1980s.
These technologies are also being applied in regenerative medicine as tools to reprogram cell genomes to a pluripotent
state and to other cell lineages. Rapid progress in these new research areas and expectations for their translation into clinical
applications have facilitated the development of more sophisticated gene delivery/expression technologies. Since its
isolation in 1953 in Japan, Sendai virus (SeV) has been widely used as a research tool in cell biology and in industry, but
the application of SeV as a recombinant viral vector has been investigated only recently. Recombinant SeV vectors have
various unique characteristics, such as low pathogenicity, powerful capacity for gene expression and a wide host range. In
addition, the cytoplasmic gene expression mediated by this vector is advantageous for applications, in that chromosomal
integration of exogenous genes can be undesirable. In this review, we introduce a brief historical background on the development
of recombinant SeV vectors and describe their current applications in gene therapy. We also describe the application
of SeV vectors in advanced nuclear reprogramming and introduce a defective and persistent SeV vector (SeVdp)
optimized for such reprogramming.
Keywords: Sendai virus, gene therapy, nuclear reprogramming, induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), regenerative medicine, viral vectors, gene delivery vectors, DNA–carrier
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