Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D gene therapy restores alpha-sarcoglycan and associated proteins.
ABSTRACT: alpha-Sarcoglycan deficiency results in a severe form of muscular dystrophy (limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D [LGMD2D]) without treatment. Gene replacement represents a strategy for correcting the underlying defect. Questions related to this approach were addressed in this clinical trial, particularly the need for immunotherapy and persistence of gene expression.A double-blind, randomized controlled trial using rAAV1.tMCK.hSGCA injected into the extensor digitorum brevis muscle was conducted. Control sides received saline. A 3-day course of methylprednisolone accompanied gene transfer without further immune suppression.No adverse events were encountered. SGCA gene expression increased 4-5-fold over control sides when examined at 6 weeks (2 subjects) and 3 months (1 subject). The full sarcoglycan complex was restored in all subjects, and muscle fiber size was increased in the 3-month subject. Adeno-associated virus serotype 1 (AAV1)-neutralizing antibodies were seen as early as 2 weeks. Neither CD4+ nor CD8+ cells were increased over contralateral sides. Scattered foci of inflammation could be found, but showed features of programmed cell death. Enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISpot) showed no interferon-gamma response to alpha-SG or AAV1 capsid peptide pools, with the exception of a minimal capsid response in 1 subject. Restimulation to detect low-frequency capsid-specific T cells by ELISpot assays was negative. Results of the first 3 subjects successfully achieved study aims, precluding the need for additional enrollment.The finding of this gene replacement study in LGMD2D has important implications for muscular dystrophy. Sustained gene expression was seen, but studies over longer time periods without immunotherapy will be required for design of vascular delivery gene therapy trials.
Project description:The aim of this study was to attain long-lasting alpha-sarcoglycan gene expression in limb-girdle muscular dystrophy, type 2D (LGMD2D) subjects mediated by adeno-associated virus (AAV) gene transfer under control of a muscle specific promoter (tMCK).rAAV1.tMCK.hSGCA (3.25 × 10¹¹ vector genomes) was delivered to the extensor digitorum brevis muscle of 3 subjects with documented SGCA mutations via a double-blind, randomized, placebo controlled trial. Control sides received saline. The blind was not broken until the study was completed at 6 months and all results were reported to the oversight committee.Persistent alpha-sarcoglycan gene expression was achieved for 6 months in 2 of 3 LGMD2D subjects. Markers for muscle fiber transduction other than alpha-sarcoglycan included expression of major histocompatibility complex I, increase in muscle fiber size, and restoration of the full sarcoglycan complex. Mononuclear inflammatory cells recruited to the site of gene transfer appeared to undergo programmed cell death, demonstrated by terminal deoxynucleotide transferase-mediated deoxyuridine triphosphate nick-end labeling and caspase-3 staining. A patient failing gene transfer demonstrated an early rise in neutralizing antibody titers and T-cell immunity to AAV, validated by enzyme-linked immunospot on the second day after gene injection. This was in clear distinction to other participants with satisfactory gene expression.The findings of this gene replacement study in LGMD2D subjects have important implications not previously demonstrated in muscular dystrophy. Long-term, sustainable gene expression of alpha-sarcoglycan was observed following gene transfer mediated by AAV. The merit of a muscle-specific tMCK promoter, not previously used in a clinical trial, was evident, and the potential for reversal of disease was displayed.
Project description:Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D) is caused by autosomal recessive mutations in the alpha-sarcoglycan gene. An R77C substitution is the most prevalent cause of the disease, leading to disruption of the sarcoglycan-sarcospan complex. To model this common mutation, we generated knock-in mice with an H77C substitution in alpha-sarcoglycan. The floxed neomycin (Neo)-cassette retained at the targeted H77C alpha-sarcoglycan locus caused a loss of alpha-sarcoglycan expression, resulting in muscular dystrophy in homozygotes, whereas Cre-mediated deletion of the floxed Neo-cassette led to recovered H77C alpha-sarcoglycan expression. Contrary to expectations, mice homozygous for the H77C-encoding allele expressed both this mutant alpha-sarcoglycan and the other components of the sarcoglycan-sarcospan complex in striated muscle, and did not develop muscular dystrophy. Accordingly, conditional rescued expression of the H77C protein in striated muscle of the alpha-sarcoglycan-deficient mice prevented the disease. Adding to the case that the behavior of mutant alpha-sarcoglycan is different between humans and mice, mutant human R77C alpha-sarcoglycan restored the expression of the sarcoglycan-sarcospan complex when introduced by adenoviral vector into the skeletal muscle of previously created alpha-sarcoglycan null mice. These findings indicate that the alpha-sarcoglycan with the most frequent missense mutation in LGMD2D is correctly processed, is transported to the sarcolemma, and is fully functional in mouse muscle. Our study presents an unexpected difference in the behavior of a missense-mutated protein in mice versus human patients, and emphasizes the need to understand species-specific protein quality control systems.
Project description:Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D) is a rare autosomal-recessive disease, affecting striated muscle, due to mutation of SGCA, the gene coding for ?-sarcoglycan. Nowadays, more than 50 different SGCA missense mutations have been reported. They are supposed to impact folding and trafficking of ?-sarcoglycan because the defective polypeptide, although potentially functional, is recognized and disposed of by the quality control of the cell. The secondary reduction of ?-sarcoglycan partners, ?-, ?- and ?-sarcoglycan, disrupts a key membrane complex that, associated to dystrophin, contributes to assure sarcolemma stability during muscle contraction. The complex deficiency is responsible for muscle wasting and the development of a severe form of dystrophy. Here, we show that the application of small molecules developed to rescue ?F508-CFTR trafficking, and known as CFTR correctors, also improved the maturation of several ?-sarcoglycan mutants that were consequently rescued at the plasma membrane. Remarkably, in myotubes from a patient with LGMD2D, treatment with CFTR correctors induced the proper re-localization of the whole sarcoglycan complex, with a consequent reduction of sarcolemma fragility. Although the mechanism of action of CFTR correctors on defective ?-sarcoglycan needs further investigation, this is the first report showing a quantitative and functional recovery of the sarcoglycan-complex in human pathologic samples, upon small molecule treatment. It represents the proof of principle of a pharmacological strategy that acts on the sarcoglycan maturation process and we believe it has a great potential to develop as a cure for most of the patients with LGMD2D.
Project description:Mesoangioblasts are stem/progenitor cells derived from a subset of pericytes expressing alkaline phosphatase. They have been shown to ameliorate muscular dystrophies (currently incurable diseases) in different animal models and are now undergoing clinical experimentation for Duchenne muscular dystrophy. We show here that patients affected by limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D (LGMD2D, characterized by α-sarcoglycan deficit) have a reduction of this subset of pericytes and hence mesoangioblast could not be derived for cell therapy. Therefore, we reprogrammed LGMD2D fibroblasts and myoblasts to induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and developed a protocol for the derivation of mesoangioblast-like cells from them. These cells can be expanded and genetically corrected with a muscle-specific lentiviral vector expressing human α-sarcoglycan. Upon transplantation into ad hoc generated α-sarcoglycan-null immunodeficient mice, they generate myofibers expressing α-sarcoglycan. This approach may be useful for muscular dystrophies that show a reduction of resident progenitors and provides evidence of pre-clinical safety and efficacy of disease-specific iPSCs. 9 samples analyzed: 3 WT HIDEMs, 3 Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy 2D (LGMD2D) HIDEMs and 3 WT adult skeletal muscle derived mesoangioblasts (controls).
Project description:BACKGROUND:Sarcoglycanopathies comprise four subtypes of autosomal recessive limb-girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD2C, LGMD2D, LGMD2E, and LGMD2F) that are caused, respectively, by mutations in the SGCG, SGCA, SGCB, and SGCD genes. Knowledge about the clinical and genetic features of sarcoglycanopathies in Chinese patients is limited. The aims of this study were to investigate in detail the clinical manifestations, sarcoglycan expression, and gene mutations in Chinese patients with sarcoglycanopathies and to identify possible correlations between them. RESULTS:Of 3638 patients for suspected neuromuscular diseases (1733 with inherited myopathies, 1557 with acquired myopathies, and 348 unknown), 756 patients had next-generation sequencing (NGS) diagnostic panel. Twenty-five patients with sarcoglycanopathies (11.5%) were identified from 218 confirmed LGMDs, comprising 18 with LGMD2D, 6 with LGMD2E, and one with LGMD2C. One patient with LGMD2D also had Charcot-Marie-Tooth 1A. The clinical phenotypes of the patients with LGMD2D or LGMD2E were markedly heterogeneous. Muscle biopsy showed a dystrophic pattern in 19 patients and mild myopathic changes in 6. The percentage of correct prediction of genotype based on expression of sarcoglycan was 36.0% (4 LGMD2D, 4 LGMD2E, and one LGMD2C). There was a statistically significant positive correlation between reduction of α-sarcoglycan level and disease severity in LGMD2D. Thirty-five mutations were identified in SGCA, SGCB, SGCG, and PMP22, 16 of which were novel. Exon 3 of SGCA was a hotspot region for mutations in LGMD2D. The missense mutation c.662G > A (p.R221H) was the most common mutation in SGCA. Missense mutations in both alleles of SGCA were associated with a relative benign disease course. No obvious clinical, sarcoglycan expression, and genetic correlation was found in LGMD2E. CONCLUSIONS:This study expands the clinical and genetic spectrum of sarcoglycanopathies in Chinese patients and provides evidence that disease severity of LGMD2D may be predicted by α-sarcoglycan expression and SGCA mutation.
Project description:We delivered plasmid DNA encoding therapeutic genes to the muscles of mouse models of limb girdle muscular dystrophy (LGMD) 2A, 2B, and 2D, deficient in calpain3, dysferlin, and alpha-sarcoglycan, respectively. We also delivered the human follistatin gene, which has the potential to increase therapeutic benefit. After intramuscular injection of DNA, electroporation was applied to enhance delivery to muscle fibers. When plasmids encoding the human calpain3 or dysferlin cDNA sequences were injected into quadriceps muscles of LGMD2A and LGMD2B mouse models, respectively, in 3-month studies, robust levels of calpain3 and dysferlin proteins were detected. We observed a statistically significant decrease in Evans blue dye penetration in LGMD2B mouse muscles after delivery of the dysferlin gene, consistent with repair of the muscle membrane defect in these mice. The therapeutic value of delivery of the genes for alpha-sarcoglycan and follistatin was documented by significant drops in Evans blue dye penetration in gastrocnemius muscles of LGMD2D mice. These results indicated for the first time that a combined gene therapy involving both alpha-sarcoglycan and follistatin would be valuable for LGMD2D patients. We suggest that this non-viral gene delivery method should be explored for its translational potential in patients.
Project description:Limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D) is characterized by a progressive proximal muscle weakness. LGMD2D is caused by mutations in the gene encoding α-sarcoglycan (α-SG), a dystrophin-associated glycoprotein that plays a key role in the maintenance of sarcolemma integrity in striated muscles. We report here on the development of a new in vitro high-throughput screening assay that allows the monitoring of the proper localization of the most prevalent mutant form of α-SG (R77C substitution). Using this assay, we screened a library of 2560 FDA-approved drugs and bioactive compounds and identified thiostrepton, a cyclic antibiotic, as a potential drug to repurpose for LGMD2D treatment. Characterization of the thiostrepton effect revealed a positive impact on R77C-α-SG and other missense mutant protein localization (R34H, I124T, V247M) in fibroblasts overexpressing these proteins. Finally, further investigations of the molecular mechanisms of action of the compound revealed an inhibition of the chymotrypsin-like activity of the proteasome 24 h after thiostrepton treatment and a synergistic effect with bortezomib, an FDA-approved proteasome inhibitor. This study reports on the first in vitro model for LGMD2D that is compatible with high-throughput screening and proposes a new therapeutic option for LGMD2D caused by missense mutations of α-SG.
Project description:Therapy-responsive biomarkers are an important and unmet need in the muscular dystrophy field where new treatments are currently in clinical trials. By using a comprehensive high-resolution mass spectrometry approach and western blot validation, we found that two fragments of the myofibrillar structural protein myomesin-3 (MYOM3) are abnormally present in sera of Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) patients, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2D (LGMD2D) and their respective animal models. Levels of MYOM3 fragments were assayed in therapeutic model systems: (1) restoration of dystrophin expression by antisense oligonucleotide-mediated exon-skipping in mdx mice and (2) stable restoration of ?-sarcoglycan expression in KO-SGCA mice by systemic injection of a viral vector. Following administration of the therapeutic agents MYOM3 was restored toward wild-type levels. In the LGMD model, where different doses of vector were used, MYOM3 restoration was dose-dependent. MYOM3 fragments showed lower inter-individual variability compared with the commonly used creatine kinase assay, and correlated better with the restoration of the dystrophin-associated protein complex and muscle force. These data suggest that the MYOM3 fragments hold promise for minimally invasive assessment of experimental therapies for DMD and other neuromuscular disorders.
Project description:Autosomal recessive muscular dystrophy is genetically heterogeneous. One form of this disorder, limb-girdle muscular dystrophy type 2C (LGMD 2C), is prevalent in northern Africa and has been shown to be associated with a single mutation in the gene encoding the dystrophin-associated protein gamma-sarcoglycan. The previous mutation analysis of gamma-sarcoglycan required the availability of muscle biopsies. To establish a mutation assay for genomic DNA, the intron-exon structure of the gamma-sarcoglycan gene was determined, and primers were designed to amplify each of the exons encoding gamma-sarcoglycan. We studied a group of Brazilian muscular dystrophy patients for mutations in the gamma-sarcoglycan gene. These patients were selected on the basis of autosomal inheritance and/or the presence of normal dystrophin and/or deficiency of alpha-sarcoglycan immunostaining. Four of 19 patients surveyed had a single, homozygous mutation in the gamma-sarcoglycan gene. The mutation identified in these patients, all of African-Brazilian descent, is identical to that seen in the North African population, suggesting that even patients of remote African descent may carry this mutation. The phenotype in these patients varied considerably. Of four families with an identical mutation, three have a severe Duchenne-like muscular dystrophy. However, one family has much milder symptoms, suggesting that other loci may be present that modify the severity of the clinical course resulting from gamma-sarcoglycan gene mutations.