Evaluation of MYBPC3 trans-Splicing and Gene Replacement as Therapeutic Options in Human iPSC-Derived Cardiomyocytes.
Prondzynski M., Krämer E., Laufer SD., Shibamiya A., Pless O., Flenner F., Müller OJ., Münch J., Redwood C., Hansen A., Patten M., Eschenhagen T., Mearini G., Carrier L.
Gene therapy is a promising option for severe forms of genetic diseases. We previously provided evidence for the feasibility of trans-splicing, exon skipping, and gene replacement in a mouse model of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) carrying a mutation in MYBPC3, encoding cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBP-C). Here we used human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs) from an HCM patient carrying a heterozygous c.1358-1359insC MYBPC3 mutation and from a healthy donor. HCM hiPSC-CMs exhibited ∼50% lower MYBPC3 mRNA and cMyBP-C protein levels than control, no truncated cMyBP-C, larger cell size, and altered gene expression, thus reproducing human HCM features. We evaluated RNA trans-splicing and gene replacement after transducing hiPSC-CMs with adeno-associated virus. trans-splicing with 5' or 3' pre-trans-splicing molecules represented ∼1% of total MYBPC3 transcripts in healthy hiPSC-CMs. In contrast, gene replacement with the full-length MYBPC3 cDNA resulted in ∼2.5-fold higher MYBPC3 mRNA levels in HCM and control hiPSC-CMs. This restored the cMyBP-C level to 81% of the control level, suppressed hypertrophy, and partially restored gene expression to control level in HCM cells. This study provides evidence for (1) the feasibility of trans-splicing, although with low efficiency, and (2) efficient gene replacement in hiPSC-CMs with a MYBPC3 mutation.