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Gene Ther. 2013 Jun;20(6):658-69. doi: 10.1038/gt.2012.82. Epub 2012 Oct 18.

Systemic delivery of triplex-forming PNA and donor DNA by nanoparticles mediates site-specific genome editing of human hematopoietic cells in vivo.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520-8040, USA.


In vivo delivery is a major barrier to the use of molecular tools for gene modification. Here we demonstrate site-specific gene editing of human cells in vivo in hematopoietic stem cell-engrafted NOD.Cg-Prkdc(scid)IL2rγ(tm1Wjl) (abbreviated NOD-scid IL2rγ(null)) mice, using biodegradable nanoparticles loaded with triplex-forming peptide nucleic acids (PNAs) and single-stranded donor DNA molecules. In vitro screening showed greater efficacy of nanoparticles containing PNAs/DNAs together over PNA-alone or DNA-alone. Intravenous injection of particles containing PNAs/DNAs produced modification of the human CCR5 gene in hematolymphoid cells in the mice, with modification confirmed at the genomic DNA, mRNA and functional levels. Deep sequencing revealed in vivo modification of the CCR5 gene at frequencies of 0.43% in hematopoietic cells in the spleen and 0.05% in the bone marrow: off-target modification in the partially homologous CCR2 gene was two orders of magnitude lower. We also induced specific modification in the β-globin gene using nanoparticles carrying β-globin-targeted PNAs/DNAs, demonstrating this method's versatility. In vivo testing in an enhanced green fluorescent protein-β-globin reporter mouse showed greater activity of nanoparticles containing PNAs/DNAs together over DNA only. Direct in vivo gene modification, such as we demonstrate here, would allow for gene therapy in systemic diseases or in cells that cannot be manipulated ex vivo.

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