Activation of homology-directed DNA repair plays key role in CRISPR-mediated genome correction

Gourish Mondal, Caitlin J. VanLith, Clara T. Nicolas, Whitney S. Thompson, William S. Cao, Lori Hillin, Benjamin J. Haugo, Daniel R. O’Brien, Jean Pierre Kocher, Robert A. Kaiser, Joseph B. Lillegard

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Gene editing for the cure of inborn errors of metabolism (IEMs) has been limited by inefficiency of adult hepatocyte targeting. Here, we demonstrate that in utero CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in a mouse model of hereditary tyrosinemia type 1 provides stable cure of the disease. Following this, we performed an extensive gene expression analysis to explore the inherent characteristics of fetal/neonatal hepatocytes that make them more susceptible to efficient gene editing than adult hepatocytes. We showed that fetal and neonatal livers are comprised of proliferative hepatocytes with abundant expression of genes involved in homology-directed repair (HDR) of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), key for efficient gene editing by CRISPR/Cas9. We demonstrated the same is true of hepatocytes after undergoing a regenerative stimulus (partial hepatectomy), where post-hepatectomy cells show a higher efficiency of HDR and correction. Specifically, we demonstrated that HDR-related genome correction is most effective in the replicative phase, or S-phase, of an actively proliferating cell. In conclusion, this study shows that taking advantage of or triggering cell proliferation, specifically DNA replication in S-phase, may serve as an important tool to improve efficiency of CRISPR/Cas9-mediated genome editing in the liver and provide a curative therapy for IEMs in both children and adults.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)386-397
Number of pages12
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Apr 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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