Archive for December, 2010

Working on the Wnt signaling pathway

Wnt proteins form a family of highly conserved, secreted glycolipoproteins that regulate cell proliferation, cell polarity and cell fate determination during embryonic development and tissue homeostasis. Mutations in Wnt genes or the Wnt signaling pathway components are often linked to human birth defects, cancer and other diseases.

Since the discovery of the Wnt-1 gene 27 years ago, a complex Wnt signaling network with many components having multiple distinct roles and acting in different cellular compartments has been established. The studies of Wnt signaling in human diseases, in stem cell biology and tissue regeneration holds promise for translational medicine.

A few commonly asked questions regarding studies on the Wnt pathways will be touched upon in this blog series:

How to activate the Wnt Signaling Pathway?

1) Recombinant Wnt Proteins: there are several commercial sources for recombinant Wnt proteins. As most of them are produced in bacteria, endotoxin, purity and active concentration are of primary concern. From our own experience using commonly used commercial Wnt proteins, the activities vary from batch-to-batch, and sometimes the products are simply inadequate.

2) Conditioned Medium: this approach is convenient and of low cost. ATCC provides two mouse fibroblast cell lines, which over-express mouse Wnt3A (CRL-2647) and mouse Wnt5A (CRL-2814). Researchers can maintain the cell lines and collect conditioned medium whenever they need Wnt proteins. However, these are the only two Wnt over-expressing cell lines available on the market, yet there are 19 members in the Wnt gene family. If you are planning on working with Wnt proteins other than 3A and 5A, you would have to develop relevant cell lines on your own. On the other hand, because over-expression of Wnt proteins will also activate the secretion of some growth factors, such as FGFs, the conditioned medium should be a mixture of several kinds of secreted factors.

3) Over-expression Wnt proteins directly in your cells of interests: Over-expression is a basic strategy for functional biology research. One of the barriers for introducing cDNAs into cells is the transfection efficiency. The advent of retroviral transfection (MMLV based or Lenti based) technically resolves this problem, as the transduction efficiency can reach almost 100%. However, highly efficient retrovirus packaging remains a difficult process for most research labs.

Allele Biotech plans to introduce all the human Wnt cDNAs on its HiTiter™ Expression Lentivirus platform as shelf products. The package size will be 5 vials, each vial 100 µl, the titer is 10e8 TU/ml at a price of $799. This product line will be under “Product-on-Demand”, with clones ready but packaged only upon order for the first time. First-time orders will qualify for a 10% discount, if the first-time customer provides the cDNA, there will be an additional 20% discount. These lentiviruses can be used directly in target cells or to build over-expressing cell lines for conditioned medium. Next topic is How to inhibit Wnt signaling pathway?

New Product of the Week 120610-121310: Human miRNA minigene on lentivirus with RFP reporter, ABP-RP-MI221LP

Promotion of the Wee 120610-121310: 5% off virus packaging if you use our FaceBook code “ViralPackaging” at (beta-test new web).

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Wednesday, December 29th, 2010 Viruses and cells 1 Comment

Happy Holidays!

We like to explore and are inspired by journeys to the unknown. Science is not only a disciple of reason, but also one of romance and passion.

Physicist Stephen Hawking, in a Parade magazine interview, September 12, 2010

    New Product of the Week 122010-122610:

pORB-CAG-AFP-GFPfusion(mWasabi)-sIRES-VSVG for insect and mammalian cell expression of human cancer antigen protein AFP, validated and ready to ship. Email

    Promotion of the Wee 122010-122610:

5% off all cell culture related products including consumables. For this week use the code CellCulture when you check out at our website (


Thursday, December 23rd, 2010 Allele Mail Bag No Comments

How to order virus packaging service

Step 1: Please review the following before ordering Allele’s retrovirus packaging service.

Verify that your plasmids for virus production meet the following criteria:

No internal polyA signal or polyA signal immediately downstream of the coding cistron.

Avoid toxic genes, unusual secondary structures, and expression cassettes > 8kb (5’ to 3’ LTR).

If these concerns can not be satisfied in your vector design, please contact our technical specialist ( for further discussion, as Allele’s proprietary packaging technology might be able to help.

Step 2: Select the service:

Allele offers multiple project discounts: a 5% discount for ordering 3-5 packaging services, and a 10% for 6-10 packaging services.

Additional information can be found here.

Step 3: Send us 10 ug of endotoxin-free plasmid (blue ice shipping) for virus packaging.

To facilitate the completion of the custom virus packaging projects, Allele offers a variety of retro/lentivirus plasmids as well as viral plasmid subcloning and endotoxin-free plasmid preparation services. Please contact us ( or 858-587-6645) for further details.

Once your order is placed, we will contact you about plasmid shipment and provide you with a time frame for completing the project.

Note: If the total project price is more than $1000, a non-refundable down payment (30% of the total service price) is registered before the project is initiated.

    New Product of the Week 121310-121910:

pORB-ICAM/mWasabi-sIRES-VSVG for insect and mammalian cell expression of human membrane protein ICAM, validated and ready to ship. Email

    Promotion of the Wee 120610-121310:

5% discount on high quality cell culture dishes manufactured by Phoenix Biomedical, email with code PH121310EC.

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Wednesday, December 15th, 2010 Viruses and cells No Comments

How to titer retrovirus/lentivirus

A number of methods have been developed for determining the lentiviral/retroviral titers such as using ELISA to assess the amount of p24 antigen, enzyme assay to quantify reverse transcriptase activity, and real time RT-PCR to count viral RNA genome. However, these methods do not differentiate non-infectious from infectious virus particles that are present in the virus preparation; therefore, these measurements rely on some correlation factors to derive a titer, which can be inaccurate.

Because an accurate virus titer is critical for most experimental purposes, Allele Biotech’ pre-packaged viruses are measured by the number of genomic integration events to determine the infectious titer. This functional titering is done by first transducing TE671cells (selected for consistent transduction efficiency) followed by measuring the viral genome integrated into the cell genome with QPCR. The number of cellular genome copies is also measured, and the copy number of viruses is divided by that of cells to obtain active virus titer.
How to titer lentivirus retrovirus

A plot of quantitative PCR (Q-PCR) titering of virus preparation is provided above.
TE671 cells (1×105) were transduced with 2×10-3ml of a virus sample to be titered. Cells were harvested and DNA extracted for QPCR. The titer is determined as followed, transduction unit per ml (TU/ml)=N [X1/(X2/2)]/2×10-3ml, where N is the cell number, X1 is the copy number of integrated virus DNA, and X2 is the copy number of GAPDH DNA.

Allele Has a Gift for You

Throughout the month of December when you make a qualifying purchase at Allele Biotech you will receive a gift. It’s our way of celebrating and thanking our customers this holiday season. So stock up for the New Year, and receive one of our great gifts in the process; the details are as follows.

Spend $500 and receive an iPOD Shuffle!
Spend $1500 and receive a Kindle!
Spend $2500 and receive an iPOD Touch!
Spend $5000 and receive an iPAD!

Terms and Conditions: Offer valid from December 1st 2010 to January 1st 2011. Offer cannot be combined with any other discounts or offers. Qualifying amount must be reached before taxes and shipping. Offer excludes ACT-CM-GFA0250, ACT-CM-GFA0500, ACT-CM-GFM0250, ACT-CM-GFM0500. Subject to availability, we reserve the right to change this offer at any time.

Apple, iPOD, iPAD are trademarks of Apple Inc. Apple Inc. is not a sponsor or affiliated with this promotion. Kindle is a trademark of Amazon Inc. Amazon Inc. is not a sponsor or affiliated with this promotion.

Thank you once again and have a Happy Holiday.

    New Product of the Week 112910-120510:

nCre-RFP fusion on prepackaged lentivirus, email for product details.

    Promotion of the Wee 1112910-120510:

10% discount on all Orbigen polyclonal antibodies this week if you use code FB112910Ab when ordering by emailing

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Thursday, December 2nd, 2010 Customer Feedback No Comments