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In cell-related experimental operations, for some cells that are difficult or even impossible to transfect by conventional methods, virus-mediated transfection (also known as transduction) can greatly improve the transient expression or knockout of their target genes, which is one of the most used methods of nucleic acid drug delivery in clinical research.
Unlike transfecting cells with foreign DNA or RNA, virus transfection does not require transfection reagents. The viral vector itself, also known as virion, can infect cells and transport DNA directly to the nucleus, regardless of other functions. After the DNA is released into the nucleus, the cell's own mechanism is used to produce the target protein.
Typical transduction protocols include engineering of recombinant viruses carrying transgenes, amplification of recombinant virus particles in packaging cell lines, purification and titration of amplified virus particles, and subsequent infection of target cells. Although the transduction efficiency achieved in primary cells and cell lines is high (about 90-100%), only cells with virus-specific receptors can be infected by the virus. It is also important to note that packaging cell lines used for viral amplification need to be transfected with non-viral transfection methods.
Figure 1: Viral transfection workflow.
This is a type of virus that produces double-stranded DNA copies of its RNA genome, and these copies can be integrated into the chromosomes of the host cell. Examples include:
It is a type of virus with a double-stranded DNA genome that can cause infections in the human respiratory tract, intestinal tract, and eyes. The virus that causes the common cold is adenovirus
It is a small single-stranded DNA virus that can insert its genetic material into a specific site on chromosome 19
It is a type of double-stranded DNA virus that infects specific cell types (neurons). Herpes simplex virus type 1 is a common human pathogen that causes cold sores
|Retrovirus||Adenoviral||Adeno-associated viruses (AAV)||Lentiviral|
|Viral genome material||RNA||dsDNA||DNA||RNA|
|Packing capacity||Up to 8Kb||7–8 kb||Up to 4.9 kb||About 6 kb|
|Genome integration||Integration into host genome (random)||Non-integrative||Integrative (wildtype is site-specific)||Integration into host genome (random)|
|Cell types||Actively dividing cells||Actively dividing cells||Dividing and non-dividing cells||Dividing and non-dividing cells|
|Variable transfection efficiency||10%-100% transfection efficiency||Up to 100% transduction efficiency||70%||About 70% transduction efficiency|
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