Molecular Biotechnology

, Volume 53, Issue 1, pp 92–107 | Cite as

Construction and Characterization of Virus-Like Particles: A Review

  • Andris ZeltinsEmail author


Over the last three decades, virus-like particles (VLPs) have evolved to become a widely accepted technology, especially in the field of vaccinology. In fact, some VLP-based vaccines are currently used as commercial medical products, and other VLP-based products are at different stages of clinical study. Several remarkable advantages have been achieved in the development of VLPs as gene therapy tools and new nanomaterials. The analysis of published data reveals that at least 110 VLPs have been constructed from viruses belonging to 35 different families. This review therefore discusses the main principles in the cloning of viral structural genes, the relevant host systems and the purification procedures that have been developed. In addition, the methods that are used to characterize the structural integrity, stability, and components, including the encapsidated nucleic acids, of newly synthesized VLPs are analyzed. Moreover, some of the modifications that are required to construct VLP-based carriers of viral origin with defined properties are discussed, and examples are provided.


Cloning Expression system Nanoparticle Self-assembly Vaccine Virus 



I wish to thank Prof. Dr. P. Pumpens for support during the preparation and critical reading the manuscript, Dr. K. Tars, and Dr. A. Kazaks for helpful discussions. I apologize to the authors for the important work not cited in this review. The writing of the review was supported by the ERAF grant 2010/0314/2DP/

Supplementary material

12033_2012_9598_MOESM1_ESM.doc (269 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 269 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Latvian Biomedical Research and Study CentreRigaLatvia

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