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Mol Ther. 2003 Feb;7(2):228-36.

Simultaneous inhibition of GSK3alpha and GSK3beta using hairpin siRNA expression vectors.

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Mental Health Research Institute, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.


Short interfering RNAs (siRNAs) can mediate sequence-specific inhibition of gene expression in mammalian cells. We and others have recently developed expression vector-based systems for synthesizing siRNAs or hairpin siRNAs in mammalian cells. Expression vector-based RNA interference (RNAi) effectively suppresses expression of target genes and is likely to be a powerful tool for analysis of gene function. Here we compare inhibition by vectors expressing hairpin siRNA designs either with different loop sequences connecting the two siRNA strands, or with duplex regions of different lengths. Our results suggest that lengthening the 19-nucleotide duplex region of a relatively ineffective hairpin siRNA can increase inhibition, but increasing the length of an effective 19-nt hairpin siRNA does not increase inhibition. We also demonstrate that hairpin siRNA vectors can be used to inhibit two target genes simultaneously. We have targeted glycogen synthase kinase-3alpha (GSK-3alpha) and GSK-3beta, two related kinases involved in the regulation of a variety of cellular processes and also implicated in the pathogenesis of several human diseases. Inhibition of either GSK-3alpha or GSK-3beta by transfection of hairpin siRNA vectors leads to elevated expression of the GSK-3 target beta-catenin, whereas inhibition of both kinases further increases beta-catenin expression. Our results suggest that vector-based siRNA inhibition may be useful for dissecting the functional roles of GSK-3alpha and GSK-3beta in somatic cells. The ability to inhibit two or more genes simultaneously with hairpin siRNA expression vectors should facilitate studies of gene function in mammalian cells.

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