Meet Lentivirus: The resident charmer of mammalian cells!

Posted by Applied Biological Materials (abm) on January 10, 2019

In the first addition to our Vectors and Viruses Spotlight Series, learn what makes lentivirus different from other viral delivery systems, and the advantages of choosing to use lentivirus in your experiments!


Lentivirus Character Card

Meet Lentivirus

"Hi, my name is Lenny! I love to make myself at home in mammalian genomes. I have an infectious personality that can brighten up anyone's day — even the most stubborn of cell types. You can always count on me; I'm a dependable virus that can express any gene for a long time".


Lentiviruses are a particular group of retroviruses that are able to infect both dividing and non-dividing cells. Recombinant lentiviruses have been specially altered to be capable of infecting a broad host range by a process called pseudotyping.

The main advantage of using lentivirus in your experiment is its ability to integrate a part of its genome into the host cell’s DNA. This ensures long term expression in a cell population, as the viral DNA will be replicated with host DNA when the cell divides. Additionally, lentivirus tends to integrate in favourable locations for transcription, leading to high levels of transgene expression. Lentivirus’ ability to integrate makes it ideal for in vivo imaging studies and creating induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). This ability, however, may not be desired for certain applications. Insertional mutagenesis has the potential to disrupt normal gene function and promote oncogenesis.

Lentivirus is able to package 8 kb of genetic material, has low immunogenicity, and high infection efficiency. Lentivirus is one of the most commonly used expression systems, so there are a huge variety of ready-made vectors available for use. As well, they are very commonly used in genome-wide functional studies, so there are a wide range of pooled lentiviral libraries commercially available, including cDNA, shRNA, and gRNA libraries.

The lentivirus system offers a wide variety of promoters including CMV, EF1α, UbC, and PGK.

Read our full Lentivirus knowledge base here.

Choose Lentivirus as your viral delivery system if:
  • Your expression cassette is smaller than 8 kb.
  • You want your gene integrated into the host genome for long term, stable expression. You need a vector that has low immunogenicity.
  • You wish to infect a large proportion of cells without requiring a high titer of virus
  • You wish to perform a genome-wide functional study, in vivo imaging study, or produce iPSCs.

About abm's Lentiviruses
  • Applications: Overexpression, silencing, CRISPR, and more
  • Genes available: Over 40,000 human, mouse, and rat genes offered
  • Promoters available: CMV, EF1a, PGK, CAG, MSCV, UbC, T7
  • Tags and Reporters available: GFP, RFP, Luciferase, His, HA, MBP, GST, D-tag (FLAG)

We offer the following genome-wide lentiviral collections:

Other lentiviral products and services we offer include:

Don't know which viral vector to choose?

You know you want to express a gene, but when it comes time to choose an expression vector, your choices can seem overwhelming. Do you go viral or non-viral? Which virus should you use? Or maybe it's not a protein you need to express, but an RNA species?

Try using our Vector Selection Tool. Cut through the fog with this Vector Selection Tool. Simple, clear recommendations for every application.

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Educational resources for life scientists and interviews with scientists/science comunicators in the field.

For more in-depth articles, check out our knowledge base, which covers topics such as CRISPR, Next Generation Sequencing, PCR, Cell Culture, and more.

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