Gene editing of MPS I human fibroblasts by co-delivery of a CRISPR/Cas9 plasmid and a donor oligonucleotide using nanoemulsions as nonviral carriers

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Mucopolysaccharidosis type I (MPS I) is an inherited disease caused by the deficiency of alpha-L-iduronidase (IDUA). This study shows the use of nanoemulsions co-complexed with the plasmid of CRISPR/Cas9 system and a donor oligonucleotide aiming at MPS I gene editing in vitro. Nanoemulsions composed of MCT, DOPE, DOTAP, DSPE-PEG, and water were prepared by high-pressure homogenization. The DNA was complexed by adsorption (NA) or encapsulation (NE) of preformed DNA/DOTAP complexes with nanoemulsions at +4/−1 charge ratio. The incubation in pure DMEM or supplemented with serum showed that the complexation with DNA was stable after 1 h of incubation, but the complexes tended to release the adsorbed DNA after 24 h of incubation, while the encapsulated DNA remained complexed in the oil core of the nanoemulsions even 48 h after incubation with DMEM. The treatment of MPS I patient’s fibroblasts homozygous for the p.Trp402* mutation led to a significant increase in IDUA activity at 2, 15, and 30 days when compared to MPS I untreated fibroblasts. Flow cytometry and confocal microscopy demonstrated that there was a reduction in the area of lysosomes to values similar to normal, an indicator of correction of the cellular phenotype. These results show that the nanoemulsions co-complexed with the CRISPR/Cas9 system and a donor oligonucleotide could effectively transfect MPS I p.Trp402* patient’s fibroblasts, as well as enable the production of IDUA, and represent a potential new treatment option for MPS I.

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