Spliceosome-Mediated RNA Trans -Splicing with Recombinant Adeno-Associated Virus Partially Restores Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator Function to Polarized Human Cystic Fibrosis Airway Epithelial Cells

Department of Anatomy, Carver College of Medicine, University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242, USA.
Human Gene Therapy (Impact Factor: 3.76). 10/2005; 16(9):1116-23. DOI: 10.1089/hum.2005.16.1116
Source: PubMed


We previously reported that spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing (SMaRT), using recombinant adenoviral vectors expressing pre-trans-splicing molecules (PTMs), could partially restore cystic fibrosis transmembrane conductance regulator (CFTR) chloride channel activity to polarized human DeltaF508 CF airway epithelia. Although these studies proved that SMaRT could correct CFTR mRNA defects, recombinant adenoviral infection from the basolateral surface was required because of inefficient infection from the apical membrane. Hence, applications of SMaRT technology for CF gene therapy require further testing with alternative, more clinically viable, vector systems. Furthermore, because recombinant adeno-associated virus (rAAV) vectors have packing limitations with respect to the size of the CFTR transgene insert, SMaRT correction of CFTR has the added attraction of a smaller transgene cassette. In the present study, we investigated whether rAAV vectors could effectively rescue CFTR chloride conductance in polarized human CF airway epithelial cells, using a SMaRT approach. AAV vectors were generated to carry a PTM engineered to bind intron 9 of CFTR pre-mRNA and then trans-splice the normal sequence for human CFTR exons 10-24 into the endogenous pre-mRNA. Human CF polarized airway epithelia were infected from the apical membrane with rAAV2 or rAAV5 CFTR-PTM vectors in the presence of proteasome-modulating agents (doxorubicin and N-acetyl-L-leucinyl-L-leucinyl-L-norleucinal) to enhance transduction. Epithelia were then evaluated for cAMP-sensitive short-circuit currents 2 weeks postinfection. Levels of CFTR correction seen with rAAV2 (1.07 +/- 0.24 microA) and rAAV5 (0.90 +/- 0.20 microA) CFTR-PTM vectors were similar, representing conductance equivalent to 14.2 and 13.6% of that observed in non-CF human polarized epithelia, respectively. RT-PCR analysis demonstrated the existence of wild-type CFTR transcript in CFTR-PTM-corrected epithelia, whereas only DeltaF508 mRNA was detected in polarized cells infected with control rAAV LacZ-PTM vectors. These results provide evidence that rAAV vectors are capable of using SMaRT to correct CFTR function after apical infection of human CF airway epithelia. The ability of CFTR-PTM-mediated correction to maintain endogenous CFTR regulation of the transgene product may further improve the efficacy of gene therapy for CF.

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    • "The majority of trans-splicing studies have developed therapeutic RNAs replacing the 3′ part of the transcript to be repaired. They have been applied successfully in various contexts of genetic diseases like hemophilia A (21), spinal muscular atrophy (22), X-linked immunodeficiency (23) and cystic fibrosis, in which the widespread mutation CFTRΔF508 was replaced efficiently in vivo by the normal sequence via a trans-splicing reaction (24). In contrast, only a few attempts for 5′ replacement (25) and for exon replacement by double–trans-splicing that we and other recently reported (26,27) have been successful using minigenes. "
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    ABSTRACT: RNA-based therapeutic approaches using splice-switching oligonucleotides have been successfully applied to rescue dystrophin in Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) preclinical models and are currently being evaluated in DMD patients. Although the modular structure of dystrophin protein tolerates internal deletions, many mutations that affect nondispensable domains of the protein require further strategies. Among these, trans-splicing technology is particularly attractive, as it allows the replacement of any mutated exon by its normal version as well as introducing missing exons or correcting duplication mutations. We have applied such a strategy in vitro by using cotransfection of pre–trans-splicing molecule (PTM) constructs along with a reporter minigene containing part of the dystrophin gene harboring the stop-codon mutation found in the mdx mouse model of DMD. Optimization of the different functional domains of the PTMs allowed achieving accurate and efficient trans-splicing of up to 30% of the transcript encoded by the cotransfected minigene. Optimized parameters included mRNA stabilization, choice of splice site sequence, inclusion of exon splice enhancers and artificial intronic sequence. Intramuscular delivery of adeno-associated virus vectors expressing PTMs allowed detectable levels of dystrophin in mdx and mdx4Cv, illustrating that a given PTM can be suitable for a variety of mutations.
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    • "Mostly, trans-splicing studies have developed therapeutic RNAs replacing the 3′ part of the transcript to be repaired. They have been applied to correct a number of mutations using minigenes or endogenous transcripts in genetic disease context like hemophilia A [10], spinal muscular atrophy [11], X-linked immunodeficiency [12] and cystic fibrosis where the widespread mutation CFTRΔF508 was replaced efficiently in vivo by the normal sequence via a trans-splicing reaction [13]. On the other hand, only a few attempts for 5′ replacement have been reported to be successfull on minigenes [14]–[15]. "
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    ABSTRACT: Trans-splicing strategies for mRNA repair involve engineered transcripts designed to anneal target mRNAs in order to interfere with their natural splicing, giving rise to mRNA chimeras where endogenous mutated exons have been replaced by exogenous replacement sequences. A number of trans-splicing molecules have already been proposed for replacing either the 5' or the 3' part of transcripts to be repaired. Here, we show the feasibility of RNA surgery by using a double trans-splicing approach allowing the specific substitution of a given mutated exon. As a target we used a minigene encoding a fragment of the mdx dystrophin gene enclosing the mutated exon (exon 23). This minigene was cotransfected with a variety of exon exchange constructions, differing in their annealing domains. We obtained accurate and efficient replacement of exon 23 in the mRNA target. Adding up a downstream intronic splice enhancer DISE in the exon exchange molecule enhanced drastically its efficiency up to 25-45% of repair depending on the construction in use. These results demonstrate the possibility to fix up mutated exons, refurbish deleted exons and introduce protein motifs, while keeping natural untranslated sequences, which are essential for mRNA stability and translation regulation. Conversely to the well-known exon skipping, exon exchange has the advantage to be compatible with almost any type of mutations and more generally to a wide range of genetic conditions. In particular, it allows addressing disorders caused by dominant mutations.
    Full-text · Article · May 2010 · PLoS ONE
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    • "Gene therapy for brain diseases is still at an early stage, but several classes of viral vectors have been developed for the transduction of neurons (40,41). Furthermore, long-term expression of trans-splicing molecules obtained using viral vectors or transposon systems has been shown to result in recovery of functional defects compatible with a therapeutic benefit (36,38,42–44). The level of tau E10 splicing correction necessary for a detectable phenotypic effect is not known, neither is the precise consequence of tau isoform imbalance on microtubule properties and functions or on neurotoxicity. "
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    ABSTRACT: Frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism linked to chromosome 17 (FTDP-17) is caused by mutations in the MAPT gene, encoding the tau protein that accumulates in intraneuronal lesions in a number of neurodegenerative diseases. Several FTDP-17 mutations affect alternative splicing and result in excess exon 10 (E10) inclusion in tau mRNA. RNA reprogramming using spliceosome-mediated RNA trans-splicing (SMaRT) could be a method of choice to correct aberrant E10 splicing resulting from FTDP-17 mutations. SMaRT creates a hybrid mRNA through a trans-splicing reaction between an endogenous target pre-mRNA and a pre-trans-splicing RNA molecule (PTM). However, FTDP-17 mutations affect the strength of cis-splicing elements and could favor cis-splicing over trans-splicing. Excess E10 inclusion in FTDP-17 can be caused by intronic mutations destabilizing a stem-loop protecting the 5' splice site at the E10/intron 10 junction. COS cells transfected with a minigene containing the intronic +14 mutation produce exclusively E10(+) RNA. Generation of E10(-) RNA was restored after co-transfection with a PTM designed to exclude E10. Similar results were obtained with a target containing the exonic N279K mutation which strengthens a splicing enhancer within E10. Conversely, increase or decrease in E10 content was achieved by trans-splicing from a target carrying the Delta280K mutation, which weakens the same splicing enhancer. Thus E10 inclusion can be modulated by trans-splicing irrespective of the strength of the cis-splicing elements affected by FTDP-17 mutations. In conclusion, RNA trans-splicing could provide the basis of therapeutic strategies for impaired alternative splicing caused by pathogenic mutations in cis-acting splicing elements.
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