Unlike transient transfection, in which introduced DNA persists in cells for several days, stable transfection introduces DNA into cells long-term. Stably transfected cells pass the introduced DNA to their progeny, typically because the transfected DNA has been incorporated into the genome, but sometimes via stable inheritance of nongenomic DNA.

How Does Stable Transfection Work?

Stable transfection can provide persistent expression of the introduced DNA; this can be useful for production of recombinant proteins and analysis of downstream or long-term effects of exogenous DNA expression.

Successful stable transfection requires both effective DNA delivery and a way to select cells that have acquired the DNA. For many cell types, Invitrogen™ Lipofectamine® transfection reagents are designed to provide the best performance: the right balance between efficient DNA delivery and cell viability, helping you succeed in the first step of stable transfection - delivering your DNA to the cells.

One of the most reliable ways to select cells that stably express transfected DNA is to include an antibiotic resistance gene in the DNA construct used for transfection, and then apply antibiotic selection to the cells after a short recovery period. Cells that were not transfected or were transiently transfected will die, and those that express the antibiotic resistance gene at sufficient levels will survive. Geneticin® (G418), hygromycin B, puromycin, blasticidin, and Zeocin™ antibiotics are the most commonly used selection antibiotics for stable cell transfection.

High-quality Gibco® selection antibiotics provide unique solutions for your research needs, including dual antibiotic selection, for rapid establishment of stable cell lines.

Invitrogen™ Lipofectamine® transfection reagents are widely regarded to provide the highest performance in transfection. Highly efficient transfection with minimal cellular toxicity is the first crucial step in obtaining stable transfection.

Recommended Transfection reagents

  • Lipofectamine® 3000 reagent leverages our most advanced lipid nanoparticle technology to enable superior transfection performance and reproducible results. It delivers exceptional transfection efficiency into the widest range of difficult-to-transfect and common cell types with improved cell viability.