Transfection and Reporter Gene Analysis

Content & Learning Objective

Transection means deliberately inserting nucleic acids into eukaryotic cells. They are many methods for accomplishing this. To maximize the number of transected cells, it is essential to coordinate the cell type, vector system, and transfection method. Afterward, reporter gene analysis can be used to determine the transfection rate. This course discusses the advantages and disadvantages of various transection methods, vector systems, and reporter genes and shows you how to choose the right ones.

The theoretical part includes:

Comparison of transient and stable transfection:

  • Overview of techniques and vector systems
  • Parameters for maximizing transfection efficiency
  • Special aspects when transfecting primary cells or cell lines
  • Overview of reporter genes and reporter gene assays
  • The biochemical bases of reporter gene activity
  • Designing experiments and choosing suitable systems

The practical part comprises:

  • Transient transfection of primary cells and cell lines with various reporter plasmids
  • Use of different reporter genes to determine transfection efficiency, reporter gene assays for different luciferases and β-galactosidases, fluorescence microscopy for GFP
  • Analysis of different methods for standardizing reporter gene experiments

Target Group

Technical and scientific staff with basic knowledge of cell culture and molecular biology


Associate professor Dr. Rüdiger Arnold  teaches at the University of Heidelberg as a lecturer in several life science education programs. Dr. Arnold studied biology in Giessen and worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the Max - Planck - Institute of Physiology and Clinical Research in Bad Nauheim. Afterwards he joined the German Cancer Research Center and habilitated at the medical faculty of the Ruprecht-Karls - University of Heidelberg in immunology where he worked in the area of activation, differentiation, and apoptosis in leukocytes and lymphoma. Between 2011 and 2015 he headed the student research laboratory of the Heidelberg Life - Science Lab at the German Cancer Research Center.

Recommended advanced courses

Use and Optimization of Transfection Methods; Fluorescence Microscopy of Live Cells