Lentiviral Vector Platform for the Efficient Delivery of Epigenome-editing Tools into Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell-derived Disease Models.
The use of hiPSC-derived cells represents a valuable approach to study human neurodegenerative diseases. Here, we describe an optimized protocol for the differentiation of hiPSCs derived from a patient with the triplication of the alpha-synuclein gene (SNCA) locus into Parkinson's disease (PD)-relevant dopaminergic neuronal populations. Accumulating evidence has shown that high levels of SNCA are causative for the development of PD. Recognizing the unmet need to establish novel therapeutic approaches for PD, especially those targeting the regulation of SNCA expression, we recently developed a CRISPR/dCas9-DNA-methylation-based system to epigenetically modulate SNCA transcription by enriching methylation levels at the SNCA intron 1 regulatory region. To deliver the system, consisting of a dead (deactivated) version of Cas9 (dCas9) fused with the catalytic domain of the DNA methyltransferase enzyme 3A (DNMT3A), a lentiviral vector is used. This system is applied to cells with the triplication of the SNCA locus and reduces the SNCA-mRNA and protein levels by about 30% through the targeted DNA methylation of SNCA intron 1. The fine-tuned downregulation of the SNCA levels rescues disease-related cellular phenotypes. In the current protocol, we aim to describe a step-by-step procedure for differentiating hiPSCs into neural progenitor cells (NPCs) and the establishment and validation of pyrosequencing assays for the evaluation of the methylation profile in the SNCA intron 1. To outline in more detail the lentivirus-CRISPR/dCas9 system used in these experiments, this protocol describes how to produce, purify, and concentrate lentiviral vectors and to highlight their suitability for epigenome- and genome-editing applications using hiPSCs and NPCs. The protocol is easily adaptable and can be used to produce high titer lentiviruses for in vitro and in vivo applications.
Tagliafierro, L; Ilich, E; Moncalvo, M; Gu, J; Sriskanda, A; Grenier, C; Murphy, SK; Chiba-Falek, O; Kantor, B
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