Targeted conversion of the transthyretin gene in vitro and in vivo

Gene Ther. 2004 May;11(10):838-46. doi: 10.1038/


Familial amyloidotic polyneuropathy (FAP) is the common form of hereditary generalized amyloidosis and is characterized by the accumulation of amyloid fibrils in the peripheral nerves and other organs. Liver transplantation has been utilized as a therapy for FAP, because the variant transthyretin (TTR) is predominantly synthesized by the liver, but this therapy is associated with several problems. Thus, we need to develop a new treatment that prevents the production of the variant TTR in the liver. In this study, we used HepG2 cells to show in vitro conversion of the TTR gene by single-stranded oligonucleotides (SSOs), embedded in atelocollagen, designed to promote endogenous repair of genomic DNA. For the in vivo portion of the study, we used liver from transgenic mice whose intrinsic wild-type TTR gene was replaced by the murine TTR Val30Met gene. The level of gene conversion was determined by real-time RCR combined with mutant-allele-specific amplification. Our results indicated that the level of gene conversion was approximately 11 and 9% of the total TTR gene in HepG2 cells and liver from transgenic mice, respectively. Gene therapy via this method may therefore be a promising alternative to liver transplantation for treatment of FAP.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyloid Neuropathies / genetics
  • Amyloid Neuropathies / therapy*
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Collagen / genetics
  • DNA Repair / genetics
  • Gene Conversion
  • Gene Targeting / methods*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotides / genetics
  • Prealbumin / genetics*
  • Transfection


  • Oligonucleotides
  • Prealbumin
  • atelocollagen
  • Collagen