Fragile X syndrome (FXS) is the most common form of inherited intellectual disability, resulting from a CGG repeat expansion in the fragile X mental retardation 1 (FMR1) gene. Here, we report a strategy for CGG repeat correction using CRISPR/Cas9 for targeted deletion in both embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells derived from FXS patients. Following gene correction in FXS induced pluripotent stem cells, FMR1 expression was restored and sustained in neural precursor cells and mature neurons. Strikingly, after removal of the CGG repeats, the upstream CpG island of the FMR1 promoter showed extensive demethylation, an open chromatin state, and transcription initiation. These results suggest a silencing maintenance mechanism for the FMR1 promoter that is dependent on the existence of the CGG repeat expansion. Our strategy for deletion of trinucleotide repeats provides further insights into the molecular mechanisms of FXS and future therapies of trinucleotide repeat disorders.
Copyright © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.