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AAV-mediated gene augmentation therapy of CRB1 patient-derived retinal organoids restores the histological and transcriptional retinal phenotype

Publication year 2023
Published in Stem Cell Reports
Authors Nanda Boon, Xuefei Lu, Charlotte A. Andriessen, Ioannis Moustakas, Thilo M Buck, Christian Freund, Christiaan H Arendzen, Stefan Böhringer, Hailiang Mei, J. Wijnholds

Retinitis pigmentosa and Leber congenital amaurosis are inherited retinal dystrophies that can be caused by mutations in the Crumbs homolog 1 (CRB1) gene. CRB1 is required for organizing apical-basal polarity and adhesion between photoreceptors and Müller glial cells. CRB1 patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells were differentiated into CRB1 retinal organoids that showed diminished expression of variant CRB1 protein observed by immunohistochemical analysis. Single-cell RNA sequencing revealed impact on, among others, the endosomal pathway and cell adhesion and migration in CRB1 patient-derived retinal organoids compared with isogenic controls. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) vector-mediated hCRB2 or hCRB1 gene augmentation in Müller glial and photoreceptor cells partially restored the histological phenotype and transcriptomic profile of CRB1 patient-derived retinal organoids. Altogether, we show proof-of-concept that AAV.hCRB1 or AAV.hCRB2 treatment improved the phenotype of CRB1 patient-derived retinal organoids, providing essential information for future gene therapy approaches for patients with mutations in the CRB1 gene.

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