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HSV for Neural Circuitry Research

Introduction of HSV

Herpes simplex virus (HSV) refers to herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2) which belong to the human herpes virus family. As a widespread human pathogen, HSVs infect 70% of people worldwide. After initial infection, the virus particles enter the sensory neurons and travel in the retrograde direction along the axons. Following enter the neuron nucleus, the viruses would remain in a latent state. HSV-1always tends to be latent in the trigeminal ganglion, while HSV-2 tends to be lurking in the sacral ganglia.

Amplicon vector and amplicon plasmid structure. Fig.1 Amplicon vector and amplicon plasmid structure. (Baez, 2018)

HSV-derived Vector Design

To achieve efficient genetic material delivery in mammalian cells, viral-derived vectors have been served as the most promising tools. As a naturally epithelial-neurotropic virus, neurons are target cells for HSV-1-derived vectors and HSV-1 is suitable for the design of engineered viral vectors.

From the perspective of structure, host range, as well as immunological, amplicon vectors are particles identical to wild-type HSV-1 which contains a concatemeric form of a DNA plasmid rather than the viral genome. In this case, the viral proteins cannot be synthesized, and these vectors are fully nontoxic for the infected cells and inoculated organisms. What's more, the lack of a viral genome allows a high capacity to host foreign DNA.

Production of amplicon vectors by co-transfecting amplicon plasmid with helper defective herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genomes. Fig.2 Production of amplicon vectors by co-transfecting amplicon plasmid with helper defective herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) genomes. (Baez, 2018)

Features of HSV for Vector Application

  • Wide range of cell infection types for preclinical evaluation.
  • The ability to infect both dividing and non-dividing cells.
  • Most of the diseases caused by HSV is not serious.
  • A large transgene capacity allows the introduction of high amounts of exogenous DNA.
  • Safe replication-defective HSV-1 vectors can be designed with high titers.
  • The latent state in peripheral neurons for long-term expression.
  • Reduced risk of insertional mutagenesis.

Applications of HSV in Neuroscience

  • The model for demyelinating disease
  • Transneuronal tracing studies
  • Viral vector for gene therapy
  • Research for neuro-immune interactions
  • Study of health effects of chronic stress

HSV-derived vectors present great potentials for fundamental research and gene therapy of neurological diseases. Creative Biolabs is one of the well-recognized experts who are professional in applying advanced platforms for a broad range of neurosciences research. Now we provide custom HSV-derived vectors for our clients all over the world. If you are interested in our services and products, please do not hesitate to contact us for more detailed information.


  1. Baez, M.; et al. Using Herpes Simplex Virus Type 1-Based Amplicon Vectors for Neuroscience Research and Gene Therapy of Neurologic Diseases. Molecular-Genetic and Statistical Techniques for Behavioral and Neural Research. 2018, 445-477.

For Research Use Only. Not For Clinical Use.