In vitro genome editing rescues parkinsonism phenotypes in induced pluripotent stem cells-derived dopaminergic neurons carrying LRRK2 p.G2019S mutation

Stem Cell Res Ther. 2021 Sep 22;12(1):508. doi: 10.1186/s13287-021-02585-2.


Background: The c.G6055A (p.G2019S) mutation in leucine-rich repeat kinase 2 (LRRK2) is the most prevalent genetic cause of Parkinson's disease (PD). CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing by homology-directed repair (HDR) has been applied to correct the mutation but may create small insertions and deletions (indels) due to double-strand DNA breaks. Adenine base editors (ABEs) could convert targeted A·T to G·C in genomic DNA without double-strand breaks. However, the correction efficiency of ABE in LRRK2 c.G6055A (p.G2019S) mutation remains unknown yet. This study aimed to compare the mutation correction efficiencies and off-target effects between HDR and ABEs in induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) carrying LRRK2 c.G6055A (p.G2019S) mutation.

Methods: A set of mutation-corrected isogenic lines by editing the LRRK2 c.G6055A (p.G2019S) mutation in a PD patient-derived iPSC line using HDR or ABE were established. The mutation correction efficacies, off-target effects, and indels between HDR and ABE were compared. Comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analyses between the LRRK2 p.G2019S iPSCs and isogenic control cells were performed to identify novel molecular targets involved in LRRK2-parkinsonism pathways.

Results: ABE had a higher correction rate (13/53 clones, 24.5%) than HDR (3/47 clones, 6.4%). Twenty-seven HDR clones (57.4%), but no ABE clones, had deletions, though 14 ABE clones (26.4%) had off-target mutations. The corrected isogenic iPSC-derived dopaminergic neurons exhibited reduced LRRK2 kinase activity, decreased phospho-α-synuclein expression, and mitigated neurite shrinkage and apoptosis. Comparative transcriptomic and proteomic analysis identified different gene expression patterns in energy metabolism, protein degradation, and peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor pathways between the mutant and isogenic control cells.

Conclusions: The results of this study envision that ABE could directly correct the pathogenic mutation in iPSCs for reversing disease-related phenotypes in neuropathology and exploring novel pathophysiological targets in PD.

Keywords: Base editing; CRISPR-Cas9; Genome editing; Induced pluripotent stem cells; LRRK2; Parkinson’s disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dopaminergic Neurons
  • Gene Editing
  • Humans
  • Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells*
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2 / genetics
  • Mutation
  • Parkinson Disease* / genetics
  • Parkinson Disease* / therapy
  • Phenotype
  • Proteomics


  • LRRK2 protein, human
  • Leucine-Rich Repeat Serine-Threonine Protein Kinase-2