A series of adenosine deaminase (ADA) retroviral vectors were designed and constructed with the goal of improved performance over the PA317/LASN vector currently used in clinical trials. First, the bacterial selectable- marker neomycin phosphotransferase (neo) gene was removed to create a 'simplified' vector. Second, the Moloney murine leukemia virus long terminal repeat (LTR) promoter used for ADA expression was replaced with either the myeloproliferative sarcoma virus (MPSV) or SL3-3 LTR. Supernatant from each ADA vector was used to transduce ADA-deficient (ADA-) B- and T-cell lines as well as primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from an ADA- severe combined immunodeficiency patient. Total ADA enzyme activity and ADA activity per integrant in the transduced cells demonstrated that the MPSV LTR splicing vector design provided the highest level of ADA expression per cell. This ADA(MPSV) vector was then tested in packaging cell lines containing either the gibbon ape leukemia virus envelope (PG13 cells), the murine amphotropic envelope (FLYA13 cells), or the feline endogenous virus RD114 envelope (FLYRD18 cells). The results indicate that FLYRD18/ADA(MPSV), a simplified ADA retroviral vector with the MPSV LTR, provides a 17-fold-higher level of ADA expression in human lymphohematopoietic cells than the PA317/LASN vector currently in use.