Viral vector nomenclature

Aawara Chowdhury via (by aawara from
Wed Jun 6 20:21:35 EST 2007

In <mailman.1383.1181162358.5139.methods from>,
 Tom Anderson <ucgatan from> wrote:

>> 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".
> Hang on, though, the vector is the thing that does the carrying, not the
> thing you eventually use. pRK5 is a vector; pRK5 with actin cloned into
> the MCS is no longer a vector, it's a construct. You might say that pRK5
> is the vector of this construct, but the construct itself is not a vector.

No, pRK5 is an expression plasmid vector.  pRK5 with actin cloned into
it is an expression plasmid vector for actin.  In this particular situation,
it is common to drop the term "vector", so pRK5 can be called an
expression plasmid, and pRK5 with actin cloned into it, can be called
an actin expression plasmid.

> In my case, deleted type 5 adenovirus is a vector, but the things i'm
> using aren't. 'Viral constructs' maybe? But that sounds like i'm talking
> about the DNA with which i make the blobs (even though i'd actually call
> that a genome, or a genomic construct).

They would be expression constructs in an adenoviral vector.

>> > Can you call them viruses even though it can't cause a productive
>> > infeection?
>> Perhaps. You could call them replication-deficient mutant viruses.
> I'm going to go with this. It does everything a virus does except
> reproduce

I think a virus is defined by its ability to replicate and spread.  Which
is why viroids are distinguished from viruses - eg. HDV requires HHBV to
spread (although not for genome replication).

; you wouldn't stop calling me person if i had a vasectomy,
> right? No different!

I think I'll steer clear of your virility.

> Truly gutless systems are a bit different. I might suggest 'viroid', but
> that means something else; 'virus-like particle' might do, but again, has
> other connotations (it means at least two different things, to mycologists
> and HIV people). 

Pseudoviruses?  There are several different definitions, but generally
many animal virologists refer to VLPs as pseudoviruses or pseudovirions.

>> Viruses go into suspension, I think.

Anyway, from an editorial perspective, Human Gene Therapy and the
Journal of Virology, distinguish between viral vectors, and viral vector

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