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World J Hepatol. 2018 Feb 27;10(2):277-286. doi: 10.4254/wjh.v10.i2.277.

Homologous recombination mediates stable Fah gene integration and phenotypic correction in tyrosinaemia mouse-model.

Author information

1
Department of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover 30625, Germany.
2
Department of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Endocrinology, Hannover Medical School, Hannover 30625, Germany.
3
TWINCORE, Centre for Experimental and Clinical Infection Research, Hannover 30625, Germany.
4
Medical Center, University of Freiburg, Institute for Cell and Gene Therapy, Freiburg 79108, Germany.

Abstract

AIM:

To stably correct tyrosinaemia in proliferating livers of fumarylacetoacetate-hydrolase knockout (Fah-/-) mice by homologous-recombination-mediated targeted addition of the Fah gene.

METHODS:

C57BL/6 Fah∆exon5 mice served as an animal model for human tyrosinaemia type 1 in our study. The vector was created by amplifying human Fah cDNA including the TTR promoter from a lentivirus plasmid as described. The Fah expression cassette was flanked by homologous arms (620 bp and 749 bp long) of the Rosa26 gene locus. Mice were injected with 2.1 × 108 VP of this vector (rAAV8-ROSA26.HAL-TTR.Fah-ROSA26.HAR) via the tail vein. Mice in the control group were injected with 2.1 × 108 VP of a similar vector but missing the homologous arms (rAAV8-TTR.Fah). Primary hepatocytes from Fah-/- recipient mice, treated with our vectors, were isolated and 1 × 106 hepatocytes were transplanted into secondary Fah-/- recipient mice by injection into the spleen. Upon either vector application or hepatocyte transplantation NTBC treatment was stopped in recipient mice.

RESULTS:

Here, we report successful HR-mediated genome editing by integration of a Fah gene expression cassette into the "safe harbour locus" Rosa26 by recombinant AAV8. Both groups of mice showed long-term survival, weight gain and FAH positive clusters as determined by immunohistochemistry analysis of liver sections in the absence of NTBC treatment. In the group of C57BL/6 Fah∆exon5 mice, which have been transplanted with hepatocytes from a mouse injected with rAAV8-ROSA26.HAL-TTR.Fah-ROSA26.HAR 156 d before, 6 out of 6 mice showed long-term survival, weight gain and FAH positive clusters without need for NTBC treatment. In contrast only 1 out 5 mice, who received hepatocytes from rAAV8-TTR.Fah treated mice, survived and showed few and smaller FAH positive clusters. These results demonstrate that homologous recombination-mediated Fah gene transfer corrects the phenotype in a mouse model of human tyrosinaemia type 1 (Fah-/- mice) and is long lasting in a proliferating state of the liver as shown by withdrawal of NTBC treatment and serial transplantation of isolated hepatocytes from primary Fah-/- recipient mice into secondary Fah-/- recipient mice. This long term therapeutic efficacy is clearly superior to our control mice treated with episomal rAAV8 gene therapy approach.

CONCLUSION:

HR-mediated rAAV8 gene therapy provides targeted transgene integration and phenotypic correction in Fah-/- mice with superior long-term efficacy compared to episomal rAAV8 therapy in proliferating livers.

KEYWORDS:

AAV8; Gene therapy; Liver based metabolic disease; Paediatric liver disease; ROSA26; Targeted integration

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