Why You Should Use Commercially-Produced Lentivirus
Recently, we talked about what great tools lentiviral vectors are for cancer drug target screening. So now you want to get your hands on some lentivirus for your own in-house cancer screening or one of lentivirus’ many other applications. Your question now is, "How should I go about getting lentiviruses?" Maybe you are new to using lentivirus, or you’re an experienced user, but are either under a time crunch or you’ve had problems with lentivirus in the past. In this blog we’ll discuss two options for obtaining lentivirus, and why it is advantageous to have your lentiviral particles commercially produced.
The first option for obtaining lentivirus is to make it yourself. For this route, you’ll need several components such as:
- A set of packaging plasmids, which are needed to produce virus that are capable of infecting mammalian cells and delivering your gene of interest
- A packaging cell line, such as the human embryonic kidney cell line HEK293T
- Reagents for concentrating and quantifying (titering) the amount of virus you produce.
These components can be obtained from various labs, but they are also available commercially. It’s also worth noting that you will need to have experience with cell culture and DNA transfection.
The second way to obtain lentivirus is to have it produced commercially. GeneCopoeia provides lentiviral production services for customers. This option is best to consider for researchers who don't have the necessary skills or experience to make lentiviral particles themselves, but it’s also a great option if you are a lentivirus-producing master. In terms of convenience, you save a great deal. Having your lentivirus produced commercially will free up valuable time for you to write a paper, plan experiments, check Facebook, play frisbee with your dog, and so on.
Besides convenience and saving time, getting your lentivirus commercially produced provides scientific and other advantages, such as:
Reproducibility. The titers are pre-determined in a consistent, controlled manufacturing process. In that way, lot-to-lot variation is minimized, and reproducibility in your experiments is enhanced.
Safety. You will need to handle the virus less, since all you need to do with commercially-prepared lentivirus is add it to your cells. This leads to a lower risk of contamination and greater safety. Even though GeneCopoeia’s 3rd generation lentivirus is safe due to its inability to produce replication-competent lentivirus and to cause oncogenesis, it can still infect researchers through exposed skin, in case they forget to wear gloves or other protective clothing. So the less handling, the better!
Scale. You can readily order large-scale quantities, if needed, without having to buy more flasks and incubators, or acquire additional lab space.
Whether you’re thinking of jumping into the lentivirus world for the first time, of if you’ve been using these powerful gene delivery vehicles for decades, you should seriously consider using commercially-produced lentivirus. You’ll get cleaner, high quality and more consistent results, and not to mention, having more fun doing science in the process.