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Antisense oligonucleotide therapy corrects splicing in the common Stargardt disease type 1-causing variant ABCA4 c.5461-10T>C

Kaltak, Melita; de Bruijn, Petra; Piccolo, Davide; Lee, Sang-Eun; Dulla, Kalyan; Hoogenboezem, Thomas; Beumer, Wouter; ... Swildens, Jim; + view all (2023) Antisense oligonucleotide therapy corrects splicing in the common Stargardt disease type 1-causing variant ABCA4 c.5461-10T>C. Molecular Therapy - Nucleic Acids , 31 pp. 674-688. 10.1016/j.omtn.2023.02.020. Green open access

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Abstract

Stargardt disease type 1 (STGD1) is the most common hereditary form of maculopathy and remains untreatable. STGD1 is caused by biallelic variants in the ABCA4 gene, which encodes the ATP-binding cassette (type 4) protein (ABCA4) that clears toxic byproducts of the visual cycle. The c.5461-10T>C p.[Thr1821Aspfs∗6,Thr1821Valfs∗13] variant is the most common severe disease-associated variant, and leads to exon skipping and out-of-frame ABCA4 transcripts that prevent translation of functional ABCA4 protein. Homozygous individuals typically display early onset STGD1 and are legally blind by early adulthood. Here, we applied antisense oligonucleotides (AONs) to promote exon inclusion and restore wild-type RNA splicing of ABCA4 c.5461-10T>C. The effect of AONs was first investigated in vitro using an ABCA4 midigene model. Subsequently, the best performing AONs were administered to homozygous c.5461-10T>C 3D human retinal organoids. Isoform-specific digital polymerase chain reaction revealed a significant increase in correctly spliced transcripts after treatment with the lead AON, QR-1011, up to 53% correct transcripts at a 3 μM dose. Furthermore, western blot and immunohistochemistry analyses identified restoration of ABCA4 protein after treatment. Collectively, we identified QR-1011 as a potent splice-correcting AON and a possible therapeutic intervention for patients harboring the severe ABCA4 c.5461-10T>C variant.

Type: Article
Title: Antisense oligonucleotide therapy corrects splicing in the common Stargardt disease type 1-causing variant ABCA4 c.5461-10T>C
Location: United States
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1016/j.omtn.2023.02.020
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.omtn.2023.02.020
Language: English
Additional information: © 2023 The Authors. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Keywords: ABCA4, MT: Oligonucleotides: Therapies and Applications, RNA therapy, Stargardt disease, antisense oligonucleotides, retinal organoids, splicing correction
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Institute of Ophthalmology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10166858
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