How do you recommend that I prepare my DNA for successful electroporation of E. coli?

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For best results, DNA used in electroporation must have a very low ionic strength and a high resistance. A high-salt DNA sample may be purified by either ethanol precipitation or dialysis.

The following suggested protocols are for ligation reactions of 20ul. The volumes may be adjusted to suit the amount being prepared.

Purifying DNA by Precipitation: Add 5 to 10 ug of tRNA to a 20ul ligation reaction. Adjust the solution to 2.5 M in ammonium acetate using a 7.5 M ammonium acetate stock solution. Mix well. Add two volumes of 100 % ethanol. Centrifuge at 12,000 x g for 15 min at 4C. Remove the supernatant with a micropipet. Wash the pellet with 60ul of 70% ethanol. Centrifuge at 12,000 x g for 15 min at room temperature. Remove the supernatant with a micropipet. Air dry the pellet. Resuspend the DNA in 0.5X TE buffer [5 mM Tris-HCl, 0.5 mM EDTA (pH 7.5)] to a concentration of 10 ng/ul of DNA. Use 1 ul per transformation of 20 ul of cell suspension.

Purifying DNA by Microdialysis: Float a Millipore filter, type VS 0.025 um, on a pool of 0.5X TE buffer (or 10% glycerol) in a small plastic container. Place 20ul of the DNA solution as a drop on top of the filter. Incubate at room temperature for several hours. Withdraw the DNA drop from the filter and place it in a polypropylene microcentrifuge tube. Use 1ul of this DNA for each electrotransformation reaction.

Answer Id: E4159

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How do I know whether to choose lentivirus or adenovirus for viral expression?

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If you're interested in stable integration and selection, choose the lentiviral system. We offer both a Directional TOPO™ (D-TOPO™) and Gateway™ version of the kit to provide flexibility in the cloning of the gene of interest.

If you're looking for transient gene expression, choose the adenoviral system. We offer the Gateway™ cloning method for this product. It should be noted, however, that gene expression from both systems is typically detected within 24-48 hours of transduction, so both systems can be used for experiments of a transient nature. The main difference is that lentivirus integrates into the host genome and adenovirus does not. Higher viral titers are achieved with the adenovirus.

Answer Id: E4098

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How does the lentiviral system work? How do I make the lentivirus?

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Clone your gene of interest into one of our lentiviral expression vectors. We have a Directional TOPO™ version (pLenti6/V5/D-TOPO™) and a Gateway™ version (pLenti6/V5-DEST™ vector). Co-transfect your recombinant vector along with the optimized ViraPower™ packaging mix into the 293FT producer cell line using Lipofectamine™ 2000 reagent (if using a different transfection reagent, follow the manufacturer's recommendations). Harvest the viral supernatant and determine the titer of the virus. Add the viral supernatant to your mammalian cell line of interest at the appropriate MOI. Assay for "transient" expression of your recombinant protein or select for stably transduced cells using the appropriate selection antibiotic, if desired, then examine expression of your protein of interest.

Answer Id: E4104

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How can unstable or toxic DNA inserts be maintained in bacteria?

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There are a few steps you can take to improve stability of clones with difficult-to-maintain inserts. Supplement the medium with extra nutrients (e.g., add 20-30 mM glucose to Terrific Broth) or try a vector that has a reduced copy number (e.g., pBR322). Some clones can exhibit a high degree of deletions; this is usually a result of the clones having long terminal repeat (LTR) sequences or regions with high secondary structure. To overcome this problem, the cells can be grown at 30°C or ambient temperature (in LB or in a nutrient rich broth like Terrific Broth). Do not to let the cells reach late stationary phase in liquid culture. Alternatively, transform into cells that maintain unstable sequences such as Stbl2™, Stbl3™, or Stbl4™ cells.

Answer Id: E3099

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What are the safety issues associated with the use of your viral systems?

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Both the lentiviral and adenoviral systems should be used following Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2). We recommend strict adherence to all CDC guidelines for BSL-2 (as well as institutional guidelines). Thermo Fisher Scientific has also engineered specific safety features into the lentiviral system.

Consult the "Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories" publication (www.cdc.gov, published by the CDC in the USA, describes BSL-2 handling) and the "Laboratory Biosafety Guidelines" publication (www.phac-aspc.gc.ca, published by the Centre for Emergency Preparedness and Response in Canada) for more information on safe handling of various organisms and the physical requirements for facilities that work with them.

Answer Id: E4099

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I’m working with a lentiviral vector. What competent cells would you recommend using for propagation?

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We would recommend our Stbl3™ competent cells, as they have been tested for cloning of unstable lentiviral DNA sequences containing direct repeats.

Answer Id: E6705

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What are the advantages of the lentiviral system?

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The ViraPower™ Lentiviral System:
(1) effectively transduces both dividing and non-dividing cells
(2) efficiently delivers the gene of interest to mammalian cells in culture or in vivo
(3) produces a pseudotyped virus with a broadened host range
(4) includes multiple features designed to enhance the biosafety of the system

Answer Id: E4105

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What advantages do your Stbl2™ cells offer over other cloning strains?

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There are other strains available that may function similarly to Stbl2™ cells in stabilizing inserts or vectors with repeated DNA sequences. However, one advantage of Stbl2™ cells over many similar strains is that they are sensitive to Kanamycin, so you can use Stbl2 to propagate plasmids containing a Kanamycin resistance marker. 

Answer Id: E4289

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What generation is your ViraPower™ lentiviral expression system? Can I use it with a 2nd generation lentiviral packaging mix?

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Our ViraPower™ lentiviral expression system is a 3rd generation system with regard to safety features. Our lentiviral expression vectors are derived from wild type HIV, but nearly all the wild type viral proteins (e.g., Vpr, Vpu, Vif, Nef, Tat) have been removed and the HIV envelope is not used. VSV-G (vesicular stomatitis virus G) envelope protein is used instead. Our ViraPower™ lentiviral expression system can be used with a 2nd generation lentiviral packaging mix. However, our lentiviral packaging mix would not be compatible with a 2nd generation lentiviral expression vector.

Answer Id: E6397

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I am getting small and large colonies after transformation of my lentiviral construct into Stbl3™ E.coli. Which colonies should I pick?

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We recommend picking the smaller colonies. Large colonies are usually the result of recombination events that result in loss of some part of the plasmid, conferring a growth advantage on the cells.

Answer Id: E6395

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Is S.O.C. medium absolutely required when recovering competent bacterial cells during transformation?

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Many media can be used to grow transformed cells, including standard LB, SOB or TB broths. However, S.O.C. is the optimal choice for recovery of the cells before plating. The nutrient-rich formula with added glucose is often important for obtaining maximum transformation efficiencies.

Answer Id: E3100

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Can I use mini-prep plasmid DNA for lentivirus production?

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We do not recommend using mini-prep plasmid DNA for lentivirus production. We recommend preparing lentiviral plasmid DNA using the S.N.A.P.™ MidiPrep Kit (Cat. No. K1910-01) or PureLink™ HiPure Plasmid Midiprep Kit (Cat. No. K210004) which contain 10 mM EDTA in the Resuspension Buffer. Since lenti DNA midi-preps also often have low DNA yields, we recommend following specific protocols to increase yield—basically, grow cells slowly, use fewer cells per column, and use 100 mL lenti culture for each DNA midi-prep.

Answer Id: E6401

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How should I store lentivirus, adenovirus and viral vectors?

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Viral vectors:
Store lentiviral and adenoviral expression vectors at -20 degrees C. Due to their relatively large sizes, we do not recommend storing these vectors at -80 degrees C, as the vector solutions will completely freeze and too many freeze thaws from -80 degrees C will affect the cloning efficiency. At -20 degrees C, the vectors will be stable but will not freeze completely.

Virus:
Both adenovirus and lentivirus should be aliquoted immediately after production and stored at -80 degrees C.

Lentivirus is more sensitive to storage temperature and to freeze/thaw than adenovirus and should be handled with care. Adenovirus can typically be frozen/thawed up to 3 times without loss of titer, while lentivirus can lose up to 5% or more activity with each freeze/thaw. It is recommended to aliquot your virus into small working volumes immediately after production, freeze at -80 degrees C, and then thaw just one aliquot for titering. This way, every time you thaw a new aliquot it should be the same titer as your first tube.

Adenovirus can be kept overnight at 4 degrees C if necessary, but it is best to avoid this. Viruses will be most stable at -80 degrees C.

When stored properly, viral stocks should maintain consistent titer and be suitable for use for up to one year. After long-term storage, we recommend re-titering your viral stocks before use.

Answer Id: E4100

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What titers are typical with lentivirus?

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Titers between 1 x 10e5 and 3 x 10e5 cfu/mL (unconcentrated) are typical. If the titer is lower than 1x 10e5 cfu/mL, virus production was not optimal (arising for various reasons). Titers for the LacZ virus are typically in this low to mid 10e5 range. The sample lentiviral titer experiment shown in the ViraPower™ instruction manual shows lacZ lentivirus with a titer of 4.8 x 10e6 cfu/mL.

We strongly suggest that you titer your lentivirus on HT1080 cells, which allows you to compare titers from day-to-day within your lab and also with external labs. Transduction efficiency is high in these cells, and titering results are very accurate and reproducible--making HT1080 cells the gold standard for titering. You can then try different MOIs in other cell types based on HT1080 titers. For instance, you may require an MOI of 50 in one cell type or MOI of 10 in another cell type based on titers obtained in HT1080.

Answer Id: E4109

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What are the packaging limits for lentivirus and adenovirus? Can a 9 kb fragment be packaged into either?

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No, neither lentivirus nor adenovirus can take an insert as large as 9 Kb. Lentiviral packaging limits are around 6 kb and adenoviral packaging limits are around 7-7.5 kb. Above that, no virus is made.

For lentivirus, titers will generally decrease as the size of the insert increases. We have effectively packaged inserts of 5.2 kb with good titer (approx. 0.5 x 10^5 cfu/mL). The size of the wild-type HIV-1 genome is approximately 10 kb. Since the size of the elements required for expression from pLenti vectors add up to approximately 4-4.4 kb, the size of your gene of interest should theoretically not exceed 5.6-6 kb for efficient packaging (see below for packaging limits for individual vectors).
pLenti4/V5-DEST™ vector: 6 kb
pLenti6/V5-DEST™ vector: 6 kb
pLenti6/V5/D-TOPO™ vector: 6 kb
pLenti6/UbC/V5-DEST™ vector: 5.6 kb

For adenovirus, the maximum packagable size is approximately 7-7.5 Kb (see below for packaging limits for individual vectors).
pAd/CMV/V5-DEST™ vector: 6 kb
pAd/PL-DEST™ vector: 7.5 kb

Answer Id: E4095

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