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Scientific Articles

The emerging role of viral vectors as vehicles for DMD gene editing

key information

source: Genome Medicine

year: 2016

authors: Ignazio Maggio, Xiaoyu Chen, Manuel A. F. V. Gonçalves


Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a genetic disorder caused by mutations in the dystrophin-encoding DMD gene. The DMD gene, spanning over 2.4 megabases along the short arm of the X chromosome (Xp21.2), is the largest genetic locus known in the human genome. The size of DMD, combined with the complexity of the DMD phenotype and the extent of the affected tissues, begs for the development of novel, ideally complementary, therapeutic approaches. Genome editing based on the delivery of sequence-specific programmable nucleases into dystrophin-defective cells has recently enriched the portfolio of potential therapies under investigation. Experiments involving different programmable nuclease platforms and target cell types have established that the application of genome-editing principles to the targeted manipulation of defective DMD loci can result in the rescue of dystrophin protein synthesis in gene-edited cells. Looking towards translation into the clinic, these proof-of-principle experiments have been swiftly followed by the conversion of well-established viral vector systems into delivery agents for DMD editing. These gene-editing tools consist of zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs), engineered homing endonucleases (HEs), transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENs), and RNA-guided nucleases (RGNs) based on clustered, regularly interspaced, short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)–Cas9 systems. Here, we succinctly review these fast-paced developments and technologies, highlighting their relative merits and potential bottlenecks, when used as part of in vivo and ex vivo gene-editing strategies.

organization: Leiden University Medical Center, The Netherlands

DOI: 10.1186/s13073-016-0316-x

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