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Hossein Ameri, Christopher Murat, Amirmohsen Arbabi, Wei Jiang, Srikanth R. Janga, Peter Zhifeng Qin, Sarah F. Hamm-Alvarez; Reduced Expression of VEGF-A in Human Retinal Pigment Epithelial Cells and Human Muller Cells Following CRISPR-Cas9 Ribonucleoprotein-Mediated Gene Disruption. Trans. Vis. Sci. Tech. 2020;9(8):23. doi: https://doi.org/10.1167/tvst.9.8.23.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
To evaluate the effects of vascular endothelial growth factor-A (VEGF-A) gene editing in human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells and human Muller cells, which are the main VEGF-A producing cells in the eye.
CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoprotein was used to target exon 1 in VEGF-A gene. Lipofectamine CRISPRMAX was used as a vehicle. In vitro gene editing efficiency was assessed on oligonucleotides and genomic DNAs. Sanger sequencing was performed to detect indels. VEGF-A messenger RNA and protein expressions were assessed using quantitative polymerase chain reaction and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay.
In vitro cleavage assay on a 60-nucleotide DNA duplex showed 88% cleavage of the precursor. The cleavage efficiency was 40% in RPE cells and 32% in Muller cells. Sanger sequencing in the CRISPR-Cas9 treated RPE and Muller cells showed indels at the predicted cut site in both cells. After the VEGF-A gene disruption, VEGF-A protein levels decreased 43% in RPE cells (P < 0.0001) and 38% in Muller cells (P < 0.0001).
CRISPR-Cas9–mediated gene disruption resulted in a significant decrease in the VEGF-A gene protein expression in human RPE and Muller cells. CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoprotein may allow simultaneous targeting of multiple VEGF-A producing cells.
VEGF-A gene disruption using CRISPR-Cas9 ribonucleoprotein has a potential in treating retinal vascular diseases.
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