CRISPR/Cas9-mediated excision of ALS/FTD-causing hexanucleotide repeat expansion in C9ORF72 rescues major disease mechanisms in vivo and in vitro

Nat Commun. 2022 Oct 21;13(1):6286. doi: 10.1038/s41467-022-33332-7.


A GGGGCC24+ hexanucleotide repeat expansion (HRE) in the C9ORF72 gene is the most common genetic cause of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), fatal neurodegenerative diseases with no cure or approved treatments that substantially slow disease progression or extend survival. Mechanistic underpinnings of neuronal death include C9ORF72 haploinsufficiency, sequestration of RNA-binding proteins in the nucleus, and production of dipeptide repeat proteins. Here, we used an adeno-associated viral vector system to deliver CRISPR/Cas9 gene-editing machineries to effectuate the removal of the HRE from the C9ORF72 genomic locus. We demonstrate successful excision of the HRE in primary cortical neurons and brains of three mouse models containing the expansion (500-600 repeats) as well as in patient-derived iPSC motor neurons and brain organoids (450 repeats). This resulted in a reduction of RNA foci, poly-dipeptides and haploinsufficiency, major hallmarks of C9-ALS/FTD, making this a promising therapeutic approach to these diseases.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / genetics
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis* / metabolism
  • Animals
  • C9orf72 Protein / genetics
  • C9orf72 Protein / metabolism
  • CRISPR-Cas Systems
  • DNA Repeat Expansion / genetics
  • Dipeptides / metabolism
  • Frontotemporal Dementia* / genetics
  • Frontotemporal Dementia* / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Motor Neurons / metabolism
  • RNA / metabolism


  • C9orf72 Protein
  • Dipeptides
  • RNA