Viral vector nomenclature

Aawara Chowdhury via (by aawara from
Tue Jun 5 20:17:11 EST 2007

In <mailman.1366.1181069097.5139.methods from>,
 Tom Anderson <ucgatan from> wrote:

> I guess most people call them viruses, but to me, a virus means something
> that's capable of infecting cells and making copies of itself, which these
> things aren't. Some might call them vectors, but a vector is the piece of
> DNA you put your gene into at the start, not the finished product. One guy
> i worked with called them amplicons, which just seems completely wrong.
> Any advances?

The correct term would be "viral vector", just as what that you refer
to as a "piece of DNA" should really be "plasmid vector", and not just 
vector.  The plasmid that you transfect to make a viral vector, should be 
termed "viral vector DNA" or "viral vector plasmid".

The term "amplicon" is correctly applied to self-amplifying flavivirus
vector RNAs, but not to retroviral vectors, adenoviral vectors, and their

> Can you call them viruses even though it can't cause a productive
> infeection? 

Perhaps.  You could call them replication-deficient mutant viruses.

> Also: proteins go into solution, cells go into suspension, but what do
> viruses do? Where's the borderline?

Viruses go into suspension, I think.

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