Cas9/gRNA targeted excision of cystic fibrosis-causing deep-intronic splicing mutations restores normal splicing of CFTR mRNA

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Sanz, David J.
Hollywood, Jennifer A.
Scallan, Martina F.
Harrison, Patrick T.
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Cystic Fibrosis is an autosomal recessive disorder caused by mutations in the CFTR gene. CRISPR mediated, template-dependent homology-directed gene editing has been used to correct the most common mutation, c.1521_1523delCTT / p.Phe508del (F508del) which affects similar to 70% of individuals, but the efficiency was relatively low. Here, we describe a high efficiency strategy for editing of three different rare CFTR mutations which together account for about 3% of individuals with Cystic Fibrosis. The mutations cause aberrant splicing of CFTR mRNA due to the creation of cryptic splice signals that result in the formation of pseudoexons containing premature stop codons c.1679+1634A>G (1811+1.6kbA>G) and c.3718-2477C>T (3849+10kbC>T), or an out-of-frame 5' extension to an existing exon c.3140-26A>G (3272-26A>G). We designed pairs of Cas9 guide RNAs to create targeted double-stranded breaks in CFTR either side of each mutation which resulted in high efficiency excision of the target genomic regions via non-homologous end-joining repair. When evaluated in a mini-gene splicing assay, we showed that targeted excision restored normal splicing for all three mutations. This approach could be used to correct aberrant splicing signals or remove disruptive transcription regulatory motifs caused by deep-intronic mutations in a range of other genetic disorders.
Mutation , Polymerase chain reaction , Introns , Reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction , Plasmid construction , Sequence analysis , Deletion mutation , Non-homologous end
Sanz, D. J., Hollywood, J. A., Scallan, M. F. and Harrison, P. T. (2017) 'Cas9/gRNA targeted excision of cystic fibrosis-causing deep-intronic splicing mutations restores normal splicing of CFTR mRNA', PLOS ONE, 12(9), e0184009 (13pp). doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0184009