Transfection is a process of introducing nucleic acids or proteins into eukaryotic cells. This technique facilitates the study and understanding of the protein functions and gene regulations in cells and is used for clone generation, therapeutic protein production, and gene therapy application. Multiple methods of transfection can be divided into biological, chemical, and physical methods. In general, the ideal transfection method should be highly reproducible with high transfection efficiency, minimal cytotoxicity, and no major physiological alterations to the transfected cells.
The methods of transfecting genetic material into cells include chemical methods that can neutralize the negative charge of the DNA or RNA, physical methods that may cause temporary disruption of the plasma membrane to allow passage of genetic material into the cell, or biological methods that employ viruses as agents mediating nucleic acid transfer. According to whether foreign genes are integrated into the host cell genome, transfection methods can be divided into transient transfection and stable transfection. Transiently transfected gene is not integrated into the host genome and therefore the effect on target gene expression is time-limited. Transient transfection can be used to investigate the short-term impact of altered gene or protein expression. By contrast, in stable transfection, the transfected gene is either integrated into the genome of the host cell or maintained in episomal form.
Direct delivery of proteins into the cytosol is mainly achieved by virus-like particles, electroporation, liposomal carriers, and nanoparticles. Results from protein direct transduction can be extremely fast in comparison with traditional gene expression, as it does not require transcription or translation processes to occur. Additionally, temporal control allows the investigation of transient protein effects while avoiding overexpression or random insertion of foreign genes into the genome.
The choice of transfection method depends on the payload being delivered (DNA, RNA, or protein) and the type of cells being transfected. Amerigo Scientific offers transfection reagents for DNA, siRNA, RNA, and protein delivery to best suit your transfection experiments.