Mutations in USH2A are among the most common causes of syndromic and non-syndromic retinitis pigmentosa (RP). The two most recurrent mutations in USH2A, c.2299delG and c.2276G > T, both reside in exon 13. Skipping exon 13 from the USH2A transcript presents a potential treatment modality in which the resulting transcript is predicted to encode a slightly shortened usherin protein. Morpholino-induced skipping of ush2a exon 13 in zebrafish ush2armc1 mutants resulted in the production of usherinΔexon 13 protein and a completely restored retinal function. Antisense oligonucleotides were investigated for their potential to selectively induce human USH2A exon 13 skipping. Lead candidate QR-421a induced a concentration-dependent exon 13 skipping in induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived photoreceptor precursors from an Usher syndrome patient homozygous for the c.2299delG mutation. Mouse surrogate mQR-421a reached the retinal outer nuclear layer after a single intravitreal injection and induced a detectable level of exon skipping until at least 6 months post-injection. In conclusion, QR-421a-induced exon skipping proves to be a highly promising treatment option for RP caused by mutations in USH2A exon 13.
Keywords: USH2A; antisense oligonucleotide; exon skipping; retinitis pigmentosa; zebrafish.
Copyright © 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.