Correction of β-thalassemia by CRISPR/Cas9 editing of the α-globin locus in human hematopoietic stem cells.

Pavani G, Fabiano A, Laurent M, Amor F, Cantelli E, Chalumeau A, Maule G, Tachtsidi A, Concordet JP, Cereseto A, Mavilio F, Ferrari G, Miccio A, Amendola M.

Source :

Blood Adv

2021 mar 9

Pmid / DOI:



β-thalassemias (β-thal) are a group of blood disorders caused by mutations in the β-globin gene (HBB) cluster. β-globin associates with α-globin to form adult hemoglobin (HbA, α2β2), the main oxygen-carrier in erythrocytes. When β-globin chains are absent or limiting, free α-globins precipitate and damage cell membranes, causing hemolysis and ineffective erythropoiesis. Clinical data show that severity of β-thal correlates with the number of inherited α-globin genes (HBA1 and HBA2), with α-globin gene deletions having a beneficial effect for patients. Here, we describe a novel strategy to treat β-thal based on genome editing of the α-globin locus in human hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs). Using CRISPR/Cas9, we combined 2 therapeutic approaches: (1) α-globin downregulation, by deleting the HBA2 gene to recreate an α-thalassemia trait, and (2) β-globin expression, by targeted integration of a β-globin transgene downstream the HBA2 promoter. First, we optimized the CRISPR/Cas9 strategy and corrected the pathological phenotype in a cellular model of β-thalassemia (human erythroid progenitor cell [HUDEP-2] β0). Then, we edited healthy donor HSPCs and demonstrated that they maintained long-term repopulation capacity and multipotency in xenotransplanted mice. To assess the clinical potential of this approach, we next edited β-thal HSPCs and achieved correction of α/β globin imbalance in HSPC-derived erythroblasts. As a safer option for clinical translation, we performed editing in HSPCs using Cas9 nickase showing precise editing with no InDels. Overall, we described an innovative CRISPR/Cas9 approach to improve α/β globin imbalance in thalassemic HSPCs, paving the way for novel therapeutic strategies for β-thal.

Voir la publication

Toutes les publications