Correction of Metabolic Abnormalities in a Mouse Model of Glycogen Storage Disease Type Ia by CRISPR/Cas9-Based Gene Editing

Irina Arnaoutova, Lisa Zhang, Hung-Dar Chen, Brian C Mansfield, Janice Y Chou
Molecular Therapy 2020 December 22
Glycogen storage disease type Ia (GSD-Ia), deficient in G6PC, is characterized by impaired glucose homeostasis and a hallmark of fasting hypoglycemia. We have developed a recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vector-mediated gene therapy for GSD-Ia that is currently in phase I/II clinical trial. While therapeutic expression of the episomal rAAV-G6PC clinical vector is stable in mice, the long-term durability of expression in humans is currently being established. Here we evaluated CRISPR/Cas9-based in vivo genome editing technology to correct a prevalent pathogenic human variant, G6PC-p.R83C. We have generated a homozygous G6pc-R83C mouse strain and shown that the G6pc-R83C mice manifest impaired glucose homeostasis and frequent hypoglycemic seizures, mimicking the pathophysiology of GSD-Ia patients. We then used a CRISPR/Cas9-based gene editing system to treat newborn G6pc-R83C mice and showed that the treated mice grew normally to age 16 weeks without hypoglycemia seizures. The treated G6pc-R83C mice, expressing ≥3% of normal hepatic G6Pase-α activity, maintained glucose homeostasis, displayed normalized blood metabolites, and could sustain 24 hours of fasting. Taken together, we have developed a second-generation therapy in which in vivo correction of a pathogenic G6PC-p.R83C variant in its native genetic locus could lead to potentially permanent, durable, long-term correction of the GSD-Ia phenotype.

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