Generation and characterization of a novel knockin minipig model of Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome

Cell Discov. 2019 Mar 19;5:16. doi: 10.1038/s41421-019-0084-z. eCollection 2019.


Hutchinson-Gilford progeria syndrome (HGPS) is an extremely rare genetic disorder for which no cure exists. The disease is characterized by premature aging and inevitable death in adolescence due to cardiovascular complications. Most HGPS patients carry a heterozygous de novo LMNA c.1824C > T mutation, which provokes the expression of a dominant-negative mutant protein called progerin. Therapies proven effective in HGPS-like mouse models have yielded only modest benefit in HGPS clinical trials. To overcome the gap between HGPS mouse models and patients, we have generated by CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing the first large animal model for HGPS, a knockin heterozygous LMNA c.1824C > T Yucatan minipig. Like HGPS patients, HGPS minipigs endogenously co-express progerin and normal lamin A/C, and exhibit severe growth retardation, lipodystrophy, skin and bone alterations, cardiovascular disease, and die around puberty. Remarkably, the HGPS minipigs recapitulate critical cardiovascular alterations seen in patients, such as left ventricular diastolic dysfunction, altered cardiac electrical activity, and loss of vascular smooth muscle cells. Our analysis also revealed reduced myocardial perfusion due to microvascular damage and myocardial interstitial fibrosis, previously undescribed readouts potentially useful for monitoring disease progression in patients. The HGPS minipigs provide an appropriate preclinical model in which to test human-size interventional devices and optimize candidate therapies before advancing to clinical trials, thus accelerating the development of effective applications for HGPS patients.