Using Nucleic Acids to Repair β-Globin Gene Mutations


Nucleic acids are an emerging class of therapeutics with the capacity to repair both DNA and RNA mutations in clinically relevant targets. We have used two approaches, mobile group II introns and Spliceosome Mediated RNA Trans-splicing (SMaRT), to correct β-globin mutations at the DNA and RNA levels respectively. We show that the group II intron inserts site-specifically into its DNA target, even when similar targets are available. Experiments transitioning this therapeutic into mammalian cell systems are then described. We also illustrate how SMaRT RNA repair can be used to correct β-globin mutations involved in sickle cell disease and some forms of β- thalassemia. We uncovered diverse repair efficiencies when targeting sickle cell versus β- thalassemia transcripts in mammalian cells. Possible reasons for this and how it might direct target choice for the SMaRT therapeutic approach are both discussed. The therapeutic molecule in SMaRT, a Pre-Trans-splicing Molecule or PTM, is also delivered via lentivirus to erythrocyte precursors cultured from the peripheral blood of sickle cell patients. Preliminary results from these experiments are discussed.





Kierlin-Duncan, Monique Natasha (2007). Using Nucleic Acids to Repair β-Globin Gene Mutations. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from


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