JOURNAL ARTICLE

Growth inhibition induced by short hairpin RNA to silence survivin gene in human pancreatic cancer cells

Yong-Mei Shen, Xiao-Chun Yang, Miao-Li Song, Chen-Hao Qin, Chen Yang, Yi-Hui Sun
Hepatobiliary & Pancreatic Diseases International: HBPD INT 2010, 9 (1): 69-77
20133233

BACKGROUND: Survivin is known to be overexpressed in various human malignancies, including pancreatic cancer, and mediates cancer cell proliferation and tumor growth, so the regulation of this molecule could be a new strategy for treating pancreatic cancer. In this study, short hairpin RNAs (shRNAs) specific to survivin were introduced into human pancreatic cancer Patu8988 cells to investigate the inhibitory effects on survivin expression and cell proliferation in vitro and in vivo.

METHODS: Three kinds of shRNA specific to the survivin gene were designed and cloned into eukaryotic expression plasmid pGenesil-1 vector. Subsequently the recombinant plasmids were transfected into human pancreatic cancer Patu8988 cells with lipfectamineTM 2000 reagent. The mRNA and protein expressions of survivin in the transiently transfected Patu8988 cells were determined by RT-PCR, flow cytometry, and Western blotting analysis. The proliferation inhibition rates of stably transfected Patu8988 cells were determined by MTT assay. The antitumor activities of the three kinds of survivin-shRNA plasmids were evaluated in BALB/c nude mice inoculated with Patu8988 cells and bearing human pancreatic cancer.

RESULTS: The three survivin-shRNA plasmids named pGenesil-1-survivin-1, pGenesil-1-survivin-2 and pGenesil-1-survivin-1+2 (with double interfering RNA sites) were successfully constructed, and were confirmed by restriction enzyme cutting and sequencing. At 48 hours after transfection, the expression of survivin mRNA and protein was inhibited in Patu8988 cells transfected with pGenesil-1-survivin-1, pGenesil-1-survivin-2, and pGenesil-1-survivin-1+2 when compared with that of either pGenesil-1-NC (with scrambled small interfering RNA) transfected cells or control cells (P<0.05). The MTT results showed that the proliferation rates of Patu8988 cells stably transfected with survivin-shRNA plasmids were reduced when compared with that of either pGenesil-1-NC transfected cells or control cells (P<0.01). Furthermore, when Patu8988 cells stably transfected with survivin-shRNA were injected into BALB/c nude mice, tumor growth was dramatically lower and the tumor was smaller than that of either pGenesil-1-NC transfected cells or control cells (P<0.01). The inhibitory effect of pGenesil-1-survivin-1 was the best among the three kinds of survivin-shRNA plasmids, but no combination of inhibitory effects was found in pGenesil-1-survivin-1+2.

CONCLUSIONS: shRNAs specific to survivin have gene silencing effects and inhibit pancreatic cancer cell proliferation. shRNA activity against survivin could be of potential value in gene therapy for pancreatic cancer. However, shRNAs with double combining sites did not significantly enhance the interference compared with single site shRNAs, therefore further studies on this are needed.

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