Bipartite vectors for co-expression of a growth factor cDNA and short hairpin RNA against an apoptotic gene

Feng Li, Ram I. Mahato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Although human islet transplantation is a promising approach for treating type I diabetes, its success is limited as a result of the poor survival rate of transplanted islets. Expression of a growth factor gene to promote revascularization and silencing of pro-apoptotic genes before transplantation may improve the outcome of islet transplantation. Methods: In the present study, we constructed bipartite plasmid vectors to co-express a vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) cDNA and short hairpin (sh)RNA targeting inducible NO synthase (iNOS) gene. First, we screened shRNA sequences against human iNOS by transfecting plasmids encoding shRNA targeting different start sites of human iNOS. Then, the effect of different promoters [such as H1, U6 and cytomegalovirus (CMV)] and micro RNA backbones on gene silencing was determined. Results: No statistical difference in iNOS gene silencing was observed for the shRNA with H1, U6 and CMV promoters. In addition, a conventional shRNA showed better silencing of the iNOS gene compared to shRNA containing mir375 and mir30 backbones. A bipartite plasmid was also constructed with mir30-shRNA and a VEGF cDNA controlled by a single CMV promoter. This plasmid showed a better silencing effect compared to plasmid without VEGF cDNA. Conclusions: In the present study, we have successfully constructed bipartite vectors co-expressing a VEGF cDNA and a shRNA against the iNOS gene. These vectors could be attractive candidates for improving the survival of transplanted islets.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)764-771
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Gene Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Islet transplantation
  • RNAi vectors
  • VEGF
  • iNOS
  • shRNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics(clinical)


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