Deficiency in acid alpha-D-glucosidase results in Pompe's disease. Modified single-stranded oligonucleotide (ODN) was designed to correct the acid alpha-D-glucosidase gene with a C1935 --> A (Asp --> Glu) point mutation which causes a complete loss of enzymatic activity for glycogen digestion in the lysosome. The ODN vectors contained a stretch of normal oligonucleotide flanked by phosphorothioated sequences. The 25mer and 35mer ODNs were homologous to the target sequence, except for a mismatched base in the middle. The ODNs caused permanent and inheritable restoration of acid alpha-D-glucosidase activity in skin fibroblast cells carrying this mutation derived from a Pompe's disease patient. Gene correction was confirmed by amplification refractory mutation system-PCR (ARMS-PCR), restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and direct DNA cloning and sequencing. The increased acid alpha-D-glucosidase activity was detected using 4-MUG as the artificial substrate. The correction efficiency, ranging from 0.5 to 4%, was dependent on the length and polarity of the MSSOV used, the optimal design being a sense-strand 35mer ODNs. Repeated treatment of the mutant fibroblast cells with the ODNs substantially increased correction. We also constructed ODN vectors to trigger specific and in vivo nonsense mutation in the mouse acid alpha-D-glucosidase gene. The ODNs were in complex with YEEE-K(18), an asialoglycoprotein-receptor ligand tagged with polylysine and targeted to hepatocytes and renal cells in vivo through intravenous injection. The mutated genotype was detected in the liver and the kidney by ARMS-PCR and glycogen accumulation in the lysosome of the liver cells. The studies demonstrate the utility of single-stranded ODN to direct targeted gene correction or mutation in a human hereditary disease and in an animal model. Our data open the possibility of developing ODN vector as a therapeutic approach for treatment of human hereditary diseases caused by point mutation.