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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2011 (2011), Article ID 124595, 16 pages
Review Article

Herpesvirus BACs: Past, Present, and Future

1Department of Molecular Medicine, City of Hope National Medical Center and Beckman Research Institute, Duarte, CA 91010, USA
2Department of Microbiology/AIDS Research Program, Ponce School of Medicine, 395 Zona Industrial, Reparada 2, Ponce, PR 00716-2348, USA
3Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, UMDNJ-New Jersey Medical School, 225 Warren Street, Newark, NJ 07101-1709, USA

Received 20 May 2010; Accepted 19 August 2010

Academic Editor: Masamitsu Yamaguchi

Copyright © 2011 Charles Warden et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The herpesviridae are a large family of DNA viruses with large and complicated genomes. Genetic manipulation and the generation of recombinant viruses have been extremely difficult. However, herpesvirus bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) that were developed approximately 10 years ago have become useful and powerful genetic tools for generating recombinant viruses to study the biology and pathogenesis of herpesviruses. For example, BAC-directed deletion mutants are commonly used to determine the function and essentiality of viral genes. In this paper, we discuss the creation of herpesvirus BACs, functional analyses of herpesvirus mutants, and future applications for studies of herpesviruses. We describe commonly used methods to create and mutate herpesvirus BACs (such as site-directed mutagenesis and transposon mutagenesis). We also evaluate the potential future uses of viral BACs, including vaccine development and gene therapy.