The ideal gene therapy is one that repairs the precise genetic defect without additional modification of the genome. Such a strategy has been developed for correcting single nucleotide mutations by using RNA/DNA oligonucleotides, or chimeraplasts. This approach for in situ repair is based on the delivery of exogenous DNA designed to mediate genomic base conversion, insertion, or deletion, thereby, correcting the genetic mutation. Using in vivo delivery systems to hepatocytes via the asialoglycoprotein receptor, we targeted rat liver DNA and successfully modified the genomic sequence by chimeraplasty. The changes in both the hepatic genes, and their associated phenotypes remained stable for 2 years. In addition, we also examined the potential to alter sequence defects in mitochondrial DNA. Therefore, we determined whether mitochondria possess the enzymatic machinery for chimeraplast-mediated DNA changes. Using an in vitro DNA repair assay of mutagenized plasmids and an Escherichia coli readout system, we showed that extracts from highly purified rat liver mitochondria have the essential enzymatic activity to mediate precise single-nucleotide changes at a frequency similar to liver nuclear extracts. Moreover, single-stranded oligonucleotides carrying a single nucleotide mismatch with the target sequence were capable of promoting gene conversion using either mitochondrial or nuclear extracts. Several approaches now exist for the precise repair of genetic mutations using either single-stranded or RNA/DNA chimeric oligonucleotides.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was funded in part by National Institutes of Health Grants P01 HD32652 to BTK, RO1 DK39137 to NRC, RO1 DK46057 to JRC, P01 HL65578 and P01 HL55552 to CJS, and ValiGen, Inc. to CJS.
- Gene therapy
- Mismatch repair
- RNA/DNA oligonucleotide
- Single-point mutation
- Site-directed conversion