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Tracking human neurologic disease status in mouse brain/plasma using reporter-tagged, EV-associated biomarkers.

Molecular Therapy 2023 May 17
X-linked dystonia-parkinsonism (XDP) is a neurodegenerative disease caused by a retrotransposon insertion in intron 32 of the TAF1 gene. This insertion causes mis-splicing of intron 32 (TAF1-32i) and reduced TAF1 levels. TAF1-32i transcript is unique to XDP patient cells and can be detected in their extracellular vesicles (EVs). We engrafted patient and control iPSC-derived neural progenitor cells (hNPCs) into the striatum of mice. To track TAF1-32i transcript spread by EVs, we transduced the brain-implanted hNPCs with a lentiviral construct called ENoMi which consists of a re-engineered tetraspanin scaffold tagged with bioluminescent and fluorescent reporter proteins under an EF-1α promoter. Alongside this improved detection in ENoMi-hNPCs-derived EVs, their surface allows specific immunocapture purification, thereby facilitating TAF1-32i analysis. Using this ENoMi-labeling method, TAF1-32i was demonstrated in EVs released from XDP hNPCs implanted in mouse brains. Post-implantation of ENoMi-XDP hNPCs, TAF1-32i transcript was retrieved in EVs isolated from mouse brain and blood, and levels increased over time in plasma. We compared and combined our EV isolation technique to analyze XDP-derived TAF1-32i with other techniques, including size exclusion chromatography and Exodisc. Overall, our study demonstrates the successful engraftment of XDP patient-derived hNPCs in mice as a tool for monitoring disease markers with EVs.

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