The pancreas is a glandular organ that functions in the digestive system and endocrine system of vertebrates. The most common disorders involving the pancreas are diabetes, pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. In vivo gene delivery targeting the pancreas is important for preventing or curing such diseases and for exploring the biological function of genes involved in the pathogenesis of these diseases. Our previous experiments demonstrated that adult murine pancreatic cells can be efficiently transfected by exogenous plasmid DNA following intraparenchymal injection and subsequent in vivo electroporation using tweezer-type electrodes. Unfortunately, the induced gene expression was transient. Transposon-based gene delivery, such as that facilitated by piggyBac (PB), is known to confer stable integration of a gene of interest (GOI) into host chromosomes, resulting in sustained expression of the GOI. In this study, we investigated the use of the PB transposon system to achieve stable gene expression when transferred into murine pancreatic cells using the above-mentioned technique. Expression of the GOI (coding for fluorescent protein) continued for at least 1.5 months post-gene delivery. Splinkerette-PCR-based analysis revealed the presence of the consensus sequence TTAA at the junctional portion between host chromosomes and the transgenes; however, this was not observed in all samples. This plasmid-based PB transposon system enables constitutive expression of the GOI in pancreas for potential therapeutic and biological applications.
Keywords: Splinkerette-PCR; chromosomal integration; gene delivery; in vivo electroporation; intraparenchymal injection; pancreas; persisted expression of transgenes; piggyBac transposon.