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Products >  Viral_Transduction >  Selection_Guides >  Comparison_of_Viral_Systems

Viral Gene Delivery Systems

Viral Gene Delivery Systems

Viral gene delivery allows the introduction and expression of a gene of interest in almost any mammalian cell type. However, selecting the best viral gene delivery system for your experimental aim can be challenging. Use the tables below to compare the characteristics of lentivirus, retrovirus, adenovirus, and adeno-associated virus (AAV) for gene delivery, and select the best viral transduction system for the experiment. Once you have selected the best system, click here for more information about each system.

General Characteristics

Retrovirus Lentivirus Adenovirus Adeno-Associated
Virus (AAV)           
Broad host range
(infects many cell types)
Yes
(dividing cells only)
Yes Yes Yes
Infects both dividing and non-dividing cells No
(dividing cells only)
Yes Yes Yes
Genome integration Yes Yes
(integrase-deficient versions available)
No No1
Very high level of protein expression2 No No Yes
(10–20% of total protein in HEK 293 cells)
No
Size of wild type genome 8.3 kb 9.7 kb 37.7 kb 4.7 kb
Insert size capacity3 2.5–5.0 kb 2.5–5.0 kb 3.0–8.0 kb 2.5 kb
Typical titer 106 IFU/ml 107-108 IFU/ml
(with Lenti-X)4
109 IFU/ml >1010 genome copies per ml
Able to obtain high multiplicity of infection
(>25 copies per cell)
No
(up to 10 copies integrated)
No
(up to 10 copies integrated)
Yes Yes
Recommended biosafety level5 BSL-2 BSL-2 BSL-2 BSL-1
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1 Although recombinant AAV vector genomes persist within cells as episomes, random integration has been observed (Deyle and Russell; Curr Opin Mol Ther. Aug 2009; 11(4): 442–447.)

2 Lentivirus can result in strong expression at high MOIs, but adenovirus typically results in the highest expression due to very high copy number.

3 The insert size capacity varies with the exact vector chosen; intrinsic sequences encoding fluorescent proteins, resistance gene markers, etc. will restrict the space available for cloning additional sequences.

4 The Lenti-X system is designed to produce high titers; these titers may not be obtained when using systems from other vendors.

5 In many cases, depending on the gene insert, AAV2 produced in the absence of a helper virus can be handled in a Biosafety Level 1 (BSL-1) facility. Always follow all applicable guidelines for research involving recombinant DNA.

Cell-Type Specificity

Retrovirus Lentivirus Adenovirus Adeno-Associated
Virus (AAV)           
Cell line (dividing)
Primary cells (nondividing)  
Primary cells (dividing)
Neuronal cells  
Stem cells
Hematopoietic cells

(use

RetroNectin
Reagent)

(use
RetroNectin Reagent)
   



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