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Four Ways to Package Transgenes That Exceed the Size Limit of Adeno-associated Virus

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Sep 1, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Adeno-associated virus (AAV) has many features which make it a great viral vector, but its packaging capacity is limited to ~4.7kb, or roughly half the packaging limits of lentiviral and adenoviral vectors. While many transgene will fit within this limit, some like prime editing's PE2 enzyme do not. So how do you fit a big gene into a tiny vector like AAV? By breaking the transgene into smaller pieces.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, AAV

Viral Vectors 101: Parts of the AAV Transfer Plasmid

Posted by Beth Kenkel on Aug 11, 2020 9:15:00 AM

So you have this awesome experiment you want to do, but it requires some AAV. You’ve never worked with AAV before, but you aren’t going to let that stop you. Where do you start? Turns out like all good experiments, making AAV starts with some plasmids. You just need three plasmids to start making AAV

  1. the packaging plasmid which contains the structural and packaging genes,
  2. the helper plasmid which contains the proteins needed for the virus to replicate, 
  3. and the transfer plasmid which contains the viral genome.

In today’s blog post, we’ll focus on the AAV transfer plasmid and take a look at each of its parts.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Viral Vectors 101, AAV

Chemogenetics vs. Optogenetics: Which Method Should I Choose?

Posted by Maya Peters Kostman on Jun 11, 2020 9:34:59 AM

Chemogentic and optogenetic technologies have pushed the boundaries in neuroscience by granting targeted control over neuronal activity. While they serve similar purposes, both techniques offer researchers different advantages and limitations. 

The four main factors in which chemogenetics and optogenetics differ are:

  • Timing
  • Targeted manipulation
  • Controlling stimulation
  • Invasiveness 

Choosing the best set of tools therefore depends on what you are looking to study.

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Topics: Optogenetics, Viral Vectors, Chemogenetics

New and Upcoming Viral Vectors - May 2020

Posted by Maya Peters Kostman on May 28, 2020 9:15:00 AM

Since the beginning of our viral service in 2016, we’ve added many new tools to our inventory of ready-to-use viral vectors. Here are some of the AAV and lentiviral preps we have released in the last few months:

  • Lentiviral preps for expressing SARS-CoV-2 proteins
  • ChR2 for targeted expression
  • DREADDs
  • GFP dependent Cre and FLPo
  • And more! 
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Topics: Viral Vectors, Addgene’s Viral Service

Viral Vectors 101: Chemogenetics

Posted by Maya Peters Kostman on May 14, 2020 9:15:00 AM

In order to understand the complex wiring of the brain and the underpinnings of neurological disease, neuroscientists need to be able to probe cells and circuits without disrupting normal brain function. Chemogenetics has become a popular tool in the field as it provides a noninvasive method for manipulating cell activity, especially neuronal firing.

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Topics: Viral Vectors, Viral Vectors 101, Chemogenetics

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