Adenovirus-based gene therapy vectors now in use cannot be targeted to specific cell types in vivo and are immunogenic, properties which limit their clinical utility. Improved vectors lacking the genes for viral structural proteins may overcome these limitations. We have developed cell lines which stably express the adenovirus type 5 (Ad5) fibre protein in its native trimeric form. These cells can complement an Ad5 mutant with a defect in the fibre gene, and are capable of incorporating the Ad5 fibre into particles of a different Ad serotype. As the fibre protein is responsible for the initial binding of virus to cells, packaging cell lines expressing different or modified fibre proteins will be useful in studying the mechanism by which adenovirus infects different cell types.