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viral vector icon   Adeno-associated Virus (AAV) Plasmids


Adeno-associated viruses (AAV) are small viruses originally discovered as contaminants of adenovirus stocks. One major advantage of using AAV for research is that it is replication-limited and typically not known to cause disease in humans. For these reasons, AAVs are generally contained at lower biosafety levels and elicit relatively low immunological effects in vivo. While AAVs can be handled at BSL-1, AAVs expressing oncogenes or toxins should be handled at BSL-2.

AAV can transduce both dividing and non-dividing cells with a low immune response and low toxicity. Although recombinant AAV does not integrate into the host genome, transgene expression can be long-lived. The utility of AAV is currently limited by its small packaging capacity (∼4.5 kb including ITRs), though there is a great deal of interest and effort directed toward expanding this capacity.

Traditionally, AAV requires the presence of another "helper" virus, such as adenovirus or herpes virus, in order to propagate. This is due to the reliance of the AAV on certain exogenous gene products that mediate AAV replication. This requirement has been circumvented with “helper-virus free systems,” which enable the production of infectious AAV particles without the use of a helper virus. Instead, specific gene products can be provided by helper plasmids (e.g., pHelper) and specific packaging cell lines (e.g., HEK293 cells) during AAV production.

Read our AAV Guide for more information about:

  • AAV components
  • Common uses of AAV
  • Viral integration
  • AAV serotypes
  • Pseudotyping

viral-packaging-services-from-addgene Ready-to-use viral preparations for select plasmids are now available through Addgene. Visit our viral service page to learn more about our viral service, and see which plasmids are available as viral preparations.

AAV Packaging Plasmids

The following tables contain a list of packaging plasmids that are useful to produce AAV. In order to generate infectious AAV particles, a helper plasmid (encoding adenovirus E4, E2A and VA) and a RepCap plasmid (encoding AAV Rep and respective capsid protein which determines the AAV serotype) are used in conjunction with the plasmid that encodes the viral genome (typically called cis-plasmid or transfer plasmid).

Helper Plasmid
ID Plasmid Serotype Description PI
112867 pAdDeltaF6 All Helper plasmid for AAV packaging, expressing adenovirus E4, E2A and VA Wilson

RepCap Plasmids for Serotypes Available as a Viral Service at Addgene
ID Plasmid Capsid Description PI
112862 pAAV2/1 AAV1 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap1 Wilson
104963 pAAV2/2 AAV2 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap2 Fan
104964 pAAV2/5 AAV5 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap5 Fan
112863 pAAV2/7 AAV7 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap7 Wilson
112864 pAAV2/8 AAV8 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap8 Wilson
112865 pAAV2/9n AAV9 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and Cap9 Wilson
112866 pAAV2/rh10 AAVrh10 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2, and rh10 capsid Wilson
81070 rAAV2-retro helper AAV retrograde AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and retrograde capsid Karpova
103005 pUCmini-iCAP-PHP.eB PHP.eB AAV packaging plasmid (non-standard), expressing Rep2 and PHP.eB Cap controlled by tTA-TRE amplification system Gradinaru

RepCap Plasmids for Serotypes Not Available as a Viral Service at Addgene
ID Plasmid Capsid Description PI
64839 7M8 7M8 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and 7M8 capsid Flannery, Schaffer
64867 shh10 shh10 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and engineered shh10 capsid Flannery, Schaffer
92307 pAnc80L65AAP Anc80L65AAP AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and ancestral capsid Anc80L65 with endogenous AAP Vandenberghe
68837 pAnc80L65 Anc80L65 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and ancestral capsid Anc80L65 Vandenberghe
78504 pGG-B1 B1 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and B1 capsid (backbone may yield higher titers than pAR-B1) Sena-Esteves
78503 pAR-B1(1986.1) B1 AAV packaging plasmid, expressing Rep2 and B1 capsid Sena-Esteves

AAV Plasmids

This table contains a general list of plasmids that are useful in the production of AAV. Many of these plasmids encode the AAV genome (i.e., the genetic information that will be contained in the virion) and/or can be used to generate infectious AAV particles. Additional helper plasmids (which may not be available at Addgene) may be required to produce infectious AAV particles. You can search or sort this table based on plasmid name, species, gene name, and more.

Plasmid Gene/Insert Vector Type Backbone Mutations Tags PI

Do you have suggestions for other plasmids that should be added to this list?

Fill out our Suggest a Plasmid form or e-mail [email protected] to help us improve this resource!