Inherent hepatocytic heterogeneity determines expression and retention of edited F9 alleles post-AAV/CRISPR infusion

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2021 Oct 19;118(42):e2110887118. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2110887118.


Infusing CRISPR/donor-loaded adeno-associated viral vectors (AAV/CRISPR) could enable in vivo hepatic gene editing to remedy hemophilia B (HB) with inherited deficiency of clotting factor IX (FIX). Yet, current regimens focus on correcting HB with simple mutations in the coding region of the F9, overlooking those carrying complicated mutations involving the regulatory region. Moreover, a possible adverse effect of treatment-related inflammation remains unaddressed. Here we report that a single DNA cutting-mediated long-range replacement restored the FIX-encoding function of a mutant F9 (mF9) carrying both regulatory and coding defects in a severe mouse HB model, wherein incorporation of a synthetic Alb enhancer/promoter-mimic (P2) ensured FIX elevation to clinically meaningful levels. Through single-cell RNA sequencing (scRNA-seq) of liver tissues, we revealed that a subclinical hepatic inflammation post-AAV/CRISPR administration regulated the vulnerability of the edited mF9-harboring host cells to cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) and the P2 activity in a hepatocytic subset-dependent manner via modulating specific sets of liver-enriched transcription factors (LETFs). Collectively, our study establishes an AAV/CRISPR-mediated gene-editing protocol applicable to complicated monogenetic disorders, underscoring the potentiality of improving therapeutic benefits through managing inflammation.

Keywords: AAV/CRISPR; gene therapy; hemophilia B; liver immunity.