Authors: Patrizia Tornabene, Rita Ferla, Manel Llado-Santaeularia, Miriam Centrulo, Margherita Dell’Anno, Federica Esposito, Elena Marrocco, Emanuela Pone, Renato Minopoli, Carolina Iodice, Edoardo Nusco, Settimio Rossi, Hristiana Lyubenova, Anna Manfredi, Lucio Di Filippo, Antonella Iuliano, Annalaura Torella, Giulio Piluso, Francesco Musacchia, Enrico Maria Surace, Davide Cacchiarelli, Vincenzo Nigro, Alberto Auricchio
Sources: Nature Communications
Challenges to the widespread application of gene therapy with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors include dominant conditions due to gain-of-function mutations which require allelespecific knockout, as well as long-term transgene expression from proliferating tissues, which is hampered by AAV DNA episomal status. To overcome these challenges, we used CRISPR/ Cas9-mediated homology-independent targeted integration (HITI) in retina and liver as paradigmatic target tissues. We show that AAV-HITI targets photoreceptors of both mouse and pig retina, and this results in significant improvements to retinal morphology and function in mice with autosomal dominant retinitis pigmentosa. In addition, we show that neonatal systemic AAV-HITI delivery achieves stable liver transgene expression and phenotypic improvement in a mouse model of a severe lysosomal storage disease. We also show that HITI applications predominantly result in on-target editing. These results lay the groundwork for the application of AAV-HITI for the treatment of diseases affecting various organs.