CRISPR/Cas9-Mediated In Situ Correction of LAMB3 Gene in Keratinocytes Derived from a Junctional Epidermolysis Bullosa Patient.
ABSTRACT: Deficiency of basement membrane heterotrimeric laminin 332 component, coded by LAMA3, LAMB3, and LAMC2 genes, causes junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), a severe skin adhesion defect. Herein, we report the first application of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated homology direct repair (HDR) to in situ restore LAMB3 expression in JEB keratinocytes in vitro and in immunodeficient mice transplanted with genetically corrected skin equivalents. We packaged an adenovector carrying Cas9/guide RNA (gRNA) tailored to the intron 2 of LAMB3 gene and an integration defective lentiviral vector bearing a promoterless quasi-complete LAMB3 cDNA downstream a splice acceptor site and flanked by homology arms. Upon genuine HDR, we exploited the in vitro adhesion advantage of laminin 332 production to positively select LAMB3-expressing keratinocytes. HDR and restored laminin 332 expression were evaluated at single-cell level. Notably, monoallelic-targeted integration of LAMB3 cDNA was sufficient to in vitro recapitulate the adhesive property, the colony formation typical of normal keratinocytes, as well as their cell growth. Grafting of genetically corrected skin equivalents onto immunodeficient mice showed a completely restored dermal-epidermal junction. This study provides evidence for efficient CRISPR/Cas9-mediated in situ restoration of LAMB3 expression, paving the way for ex vivo clinical application of this strategy to laminin 332 deficiency.
Project description:Herlitz junctional epidermolysis bullosa (H-JEB) is an incurable, devastating, and mostly fatal inherited skin disease for which there is only supportive care. H-JEB is caused by loss-of-function mutations in LAMA3, LAMB3, or LAMC2, leading to complete loss of laminin 332, the major component of anchoring filaments, which mediate epidermal-dermal adherence. LAMB3 (laminin ?3) mutations account for 80% of patients with H-JEB, and ?95% of H-JEB-associated LAMB3 mutations are nonsense mutations leading to premature termination codons (PTCs). In this study, we evaluated the ability of gentamicin to induce PTC readthrough in H-JEB laminin ?3-null keratinocytes transfected with expression vectors encoding eight different LAMB3 nonsense mutations. We found that gentamicin induced PTC readthrough in all eight nonsense mutations tested. We next used lentiviral vectors to generate stably transduced H-JEB cells with the R635X and C290X nonsense mutations. Incubation of these cell lines with various concentrations of gentamicin resulted in the synthesis and secretion of full-length laminin ?3 in a dose-dependent and sustained manner. Importantly, the gentamicin-induced laminin ?3 led to the restoration of laminin 332 assembly, secretion, and deposition within the dermal/epidermal junction, as well as proper polarization of ?6?4 integrin in basal keratinocytes, as assessed by immunoblot analysis, immunofluorescent microscopy, and an in vitro 3D skin equivalent model. Finally, newly restored laminin 332 corrected the abnormal cellular phenotype of H-JEB cells by reversing abnormal cell morphology, poor growth potential, poor cell-substratum adhesion, and hypermotility. Therefore, gentamicin may offer a therapy for H-JEB and other inherited skin diseases caused by PTC mutations.
Project description:Mutations of the LAMB3 gene cause a lethal form of junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB). We hypothesized that early intra-amniotic gene transfer in a severe murine model of JEB would improve or correct the skin phenotype. Time-dated fetuses from heterozygous LAMB3(IAP) breeding pairs underwent ultrasound guided intra-amniotic injection of lentiviral vector encoding the murine LAMB3 gene at embryonic day 8 (E8). Gene expression was monitored by immunohistochemistry. The transgenic laminin-β3 chain was shown to assemble with its endogenous partner chains, resulting in detectable amounts of laminin-332 in the basement membrane zone of skin and mucosa. Ultrastructually, the restoration of ∼60% of hemidesmosomal structures was also noted. Although we could correct the skin phenotype in 11.9% of homozygous LAMB3(IAP) mice, none survived beyond 48 h. However, skin transplants from treated E18 homozygous LAMB3(IAP) fetuses maintained normal appearance for 6 months with persistence of normal assembly of laminin-332. These results demonstrate for the first time long-term phenotypic correction of the skin pathology in a severe model of JEB by in vivo prenatal gene transfer. Although survival remained limited due to the limitations of this mouse model, this study supports the potential for treatment of JEB by prenatal gene transfer.
Project description:Whether alpha6beta4 integrin regulates migration remains controversial. beta4 integrin-deficient (JEB) keratinocytes display aberrant migration in that they move in circles, a behavior that mirrors the circular arrays of laminin (LM)-332 in their matrix. In contrast, wild-type keratinocytes and JEB keratinocytes, induced to express beta4 integrin, assemble laminin-332 in linear tracks over which they migrate. Moreover, laminin-332-dependent migration of JEB keratinocytes along linear tracks is restored when cells are plated on wild-type keratinocyte matrix, whereas wild-type keratinocytes show rotation over circular arrays of laminn-332 in JEB keratinocyte matrix. The activities of Rac1 and the actin cytoskeleton-severing protein cofilin are low in JEB keratinocytes compared with wild-type cells but are rescued following expression of wild-type beta4 integrin in JEB cells. Additionally, in wild-type keratinocytes Rac1 is complexed with alpha6beta4 integrin. Moreover, Rac1 or cofilin inactivation induces wild-type keratinocytes to move in circles over rings of laminin-332 in their matrix. Together these data indicate that laminin-332 matrix organization is determined by the alpha6beta4 integrin/actin cytoskeleton via Rac1/cofilin signaling. Furthermore, our results imply that the organizational state of laminin-332 is a key determinant of the motility behavior of keratinocytes, an essential element of skin wound healing and the successful invasion of epidermal-derived tumor cells.
Project description:Variably reduced expression of the basement membrane component laminin-332 (?3a?3?2) causes junctional epidermolysis bullosa generalized intermediate (JEB-GI), a skin fragility disorder with an increased susceptibility to squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) development in adulthood. Laminin-332 is highly expressed in several types of epithelial tumors and is central to signaling pathways that promote SCC tumorigenesis. However, laminin-332 mutations and expression in individuals affected by JEB-GI and suffering from recurrent SCCs have been poorly characterized. We studied a JEB-GI patient who developed over a hundred primary cutaneous SCCs. Molecular analysis combined with gene expression studies in patient skin and primary keratinocytes revealed that the patient is a functional hemizygous for the p.Cys1171* mutant allele which is transcribed in a stable mRNA encoding for a ?3 chain shortened of the last two C-terminal amino acids (Cys1171-Lys1172). The lack of the Cys1171 residue involved in the C-terminal disulphide bond to ?2 chain did not prevent assembly, secretion, and proteolytic processing of the heterotrimeric molecule. Immunohistochemistry of SCC specimens revealed accumulation of mutant laminin-332 at the epithelial-stromal interface of invasive front. We conclude that the C-terminal disulphide bond is a structural element crucial for laminin-332 adhesion function in-vivo. By saving laminin-332 amount, processing, and signaling role the p.Cys1171* mutation may allow intrinsic pro-tumorigenic properties of the protein to be conveyed, thus contributing to invasiveness and recurrence of SCCs in this patient.
Project description:Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB), a genetically heterogeneous group of blistering skin diseases, can be caused by mutations in the genes encoding laminin 5 or collagen XVII, which are components of the hemidesmosome-anchoring filament complex in the skin. Here, a family with severe nonlethal JEB and with mutations in genes for both proteins was identified. The index patient was compound heterozygous for the COL17A1 mutations L855X and R1226X and was heterozygous for the LAMB3 mutation R635X. As a consequence, two functionally related proteins were affected. Absence of collagen XVII and attenuated laminin 5 expression resulted in rudimentary hemidesmosome structure and separation of the epidermis from the basement membrane, with severe skin blistering as the clinical manifestation. In contrast, single heterozygotes carrying either (1) one or the other of the COL17A1 null alleles or (2) a double heterozygote for a COL17A1 and a LAMB3 null allele did not have a pathological skin phenotype. These observations indicate that the known allelic heterogeneity in JEB is further complicated by interactions between unlinked mutations. They also demonstrate that identification of one mutation in one gene is not sufficient for determination of the genetic basis of JEB in a given family.
Project description:Revertant mosaicism due to in vivo reversion of an inherited mutation has been described in the genetic skin disease epidermolysis bullosa (EB) for the genes KRT14 and COL17A1. Here we demonstrate the presence of multiple second-site mutations, all correcting the germline mutation LAMB3:c.628G-->A;p.E210K, in 2 unrelated non-Herlitz junctional EB patients with revertant mosaicism. Both probands had a severe reduction in laminin-332 expression in their affected skin. Remarkably, the skin on the lower leg of patient 078-01 (c.628G-->A/c.1903C-->T) became progressively clinically healthy, with normal expression of laminin-332 on previously affected skin. In the other proband, 029-01 (c.628G-->A/c.628G-->A), the revertant patches were located at his arms, shoulder, and chest. DNA analysis showed different second-site mutations in revertant keratinocytes of distinct biopsy specimens (c.565-3T-->C, c.596G-->C;p.G199A, c.619A-->C;p.K207Q, c.628+42G-->A, and c.629-1G-->A), implying that there is not a single preferred mechanism for the correction of a specific mutation. Our data offer prospects for EB treatment in particular cases, since revertant mosaicism seems to occur at a higher frequency than expected. This opens the possibility of applying revertant cell therapy in mosaic EB of the LAMB3 gene by using autologous naturally corrected keratinocytes, thereby bypassing the recombinant gene correction phase.
Project description:Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) is a severe and often lethal genetic disease caused by mutations in genes encoding the basement membrane component laminin-332. Surviving patients with JEB develop chronic wounds to the skin and mucosa, which impair their quality of life and lead to skin cancer. Here we show that autologous transgenic keratinocyte cultures regenerated an entire, fully functional epidermis on a seven-year-old child suffering from a devastating, life-threatening form of JEB. The proviral integration pattern was maintained in vivo and epidermal renewal did not cause any clonal selection. Clonal tracing showed that the human epidermis is sustained not by equipotent progenitors, but by a limited number of long-lived stem cells, detected as holoclones, that can extensively self-renew in vitro and in vivo and produce progenitors that replenish terminally differentiated keratinocytes. This study provides a blueprint that can be applied to other stem cell-mediated combined ex vivo cell and gene therapies.
Project description:In a highly inbred Australian Shepherd litter, three of the five puppies developed widespread ulcers of the skin, footpads, and oral mucosa within the first weeks of life. Histopathological examinations demonstrated clefting of the epidermis from the underlying dermis within or just below the basement membrane, which led to a tentative diagnosis of junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) with autosomal recessive inheritance. Endoscopy in one affected dog also demonstrated separation between the epithelium and underlying tissue in the gastrointestinal tract. As a result of the severity of the clinical signs, all three dogs had to be euthanized. We sequenced the genome of one affected puppy and compared the data to 73 control genomes. A search for private variants in 37 known candidate genes for skin fragility phenotypes revealed a single protein-changing variant, LAMB3:c.1174T>C, or p.Cys392Arg. The variant was predicted to change a conserved cysteine in the laminin ?3 subunit of the heterotrimeric laminin-322, which mediates the binding of the epidermal basement membrane to the underlying dermis. Loss-of-function variants in the human LAMB3 gene lead to recessive forms of JEB. We confirmed the expected co-segregation of the genotypes in the Australian Shepherd family. The mutant allele was homozygous in two genotyped cases and heterozygous in three non-affected close relatives. It was not found in 242 other controls from the Australian Shepherd breed, nor in more than 600 other controls. These data suggest that LAMB3:c.1174T>C represents the causative variant. To the best of our knowledge, this study represents the first report of a LAMB3-related JEB in domestic animals.
Project description:Junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) is an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by blister formation at the level of the lamina lucida within the cutaneous basement-membrane zone. Classic lethal JEB (Herlitz type [H-JEB]; OMIM 226700) is frequently associated with premature-termination-codon mutations in both alleles of one of the three genes (LAMA3, LAMC2, or LAMB3) encoding the subunit polypeptides (alpha3, beta3, and gamma2) of laminin 5. In this study, we describe a unique patient with H-JEB, who was homozygous for a nonsense mutation, Q243X, in the LAMB3 gene on chromosome 1 and who had normal karyotype 46,XY. The mother was found to be a carrier of the Q243X mutation, whereas the father had two normal LAMB3 alleles. Nonpaternity was excluded by use of 11 microsatellite markers from six different chromosomes. The use of 17 partly or fully informative microsatellite markers spanning the entire chromosome 1 revealed that the patient had both maternal uniparental meroisodisomy of a 35-cM region on 1q containing the maternal LAMB3 mutation and maternal uniparental heterodisomy of other regions of chromosome 1. Thus, the results suggested that reduction to homozygosity of the 1q region containing the maternal LAMB3 mutation caused the H-JEB phenotype. The patient was normally developed at term and did not show overt dysmorphisms or malformations. This is the first description of uniparental disomy of human chromosome 1.
Project description:The conventional approach to identifying the defective gene in a family with an inherited disease is to find the disease locus through family studies. However, the rapid development and decreasing cost of next generation sequencing facilitates a more direct approach. Here, we report the identification of a frameshift mutation in LAMB3 as a cause of dominant hypoplastic amelogenesis imperfecta (AI). Whole-exome sequencing of three affected family members and subsequent filtering of shared variants, without prior genetic linkage, sufficed to identify the pathogenic variant. Simultaneous analysis of multiple family members confirms segregation, enhancing the power to filter the genetic variation found and leading to rapid identification of the pathogenic variant. LAMB3 encodes a subunit of Laminin-5, one of a family of basement membrane proteins with essential functions in cell growth, movement and adhesion. Homozygous LAMB3 mutations cause junctional epidermolysis bullosa (JEB) and enamel defects are seen in JEB cases. However, to our knowledge, this is the first report of dominant AI due to a LAMB3 mutation in the absence of JEB.