We have constructed hybrid retrovirus packaging cell lines that express the gibbon ape leukemia virus env and the Moloney murine leukemia virus gag-pol proteins. These cells were used to produce a retrovirus vector at over 10(6) CFU/ml, with a host range that included rat, hamster, bovine, cat, dog, monkey, and human cells. The gag-pol and env expression plasmids were separately transfected to reduce the potential for helper virus production, which was not observed. The NIH 3T3 mouse cells from which the packaging lines were made are not infectable by gibbon ape leukemia virus; thus, the generation and spread of possible recombinant viruses in the packaging cells is greatly reduced. These simian virus-based packaging cells extend the host range of currently available murine and avian packaging cells and should be useful for efficient gene transfer into higher mammals.