Which viral vector should I use?

Common viral vectors used in biomedical research include lentivirus, Moloney murine leukemia virus (MMLV), adenovirus, and adeno-associated virus (AAV), each with its advantages and disadvantages. Many factors affect the decision on what type of viral vector to use in your experiment. The key considerations include: Does the virus have the tropism for the target cells (namely, can it efficiently infect target cells)? Are the cells dividing or non-dividing? Do you want transient transduction or stable integration into the host genome? What transduction efficiency is needed? Do you need to use a customized promoter to drive the gene of interest? Will your vector be used in cell culture or in vivo? Will an immune response to the virus affect your experiment? The table below lists these considerations when choosing commonly used viruses:

Lentivirus MMLV Adenovirus AAV
Tropism Broad Broad Ineffective for some cells Depending on viral serotype
Can infect non-dividing cells? Yes No Yes Yes
Stable integration or transient Stable integration Stable integration Transient, episomal Transient, episomal
Maximum titer High Moderate Very High High
Promoter customization Yes No Yes Yes
Primary use Cell culture and in vivo Cell culture and in vivo In vivo In vivo
Immune response in vivo Low Low High Very low
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