Gene correction of the CLN3 c.175G>A variant in patient-derived induced pluripotent stem cells prevents pathological changes in retinal organoids

Xiao Zhang, Dan Zhang, Jennifer A. Thompson, Shang Chih Chen, Zhiqin Huang, Luke Jennings, Terri L. McLaren, Tina M. Lamey, John N. De Roach, Fred K. Chen, Samuel McLenachan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Mutations in CLN3 cause Batten disease, however non-syndromic CLN3 disease, characterized by retinal-specific degeneration, has been also described. Here, we characterized an induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived disease model derived from a patient with non-syndromic CLN3-associated retinopathy. Methods: Patient-iPSC, carrying the 1 kb-deletion and c.175G>A variants in CLN3, coisogenic iPSC, in which the c.175G>A variant was corrected, and control iPSC were differentiated into neural retinal organoids (NRO) and cardiomyocytes. CLN3 transcripts were analyzed by Sanger sequencing. Gene expression was characterized by qPCR and western blotting. NRO were characterized by immunostaining and electron microscopy. Results: Novel CLN3 transcripts were detected in adult human retina and control-NRO. The major transcript detected in patient-NRO displayed skipping of exons 2 and 4–9. Accumulation of subunit-C of mitochondrial ATPase (SCMAS) protein was demonstrated in patient-derived cells. Photoreceptor progenitor cells in patient-NRO displayed accumulation of peroxisomes and vacuolization of inner segments. Correction of the c.175G>A variant restored CLN3 mRNA and protein expression and prevented SCMAS and inner segment vacuolization. Conclusion: Our results demonstrate the expression of novel CLN3 transcripts in human retinal tissues. The c.175G>A variant alters splicing of the CLN3 pre-mRNA, leading to features consistent with CLN3 deficiency, which were prevented by gene correction.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomic Medicine
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Jan 2021

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