Ex vivo gene editing of CD34+ hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells (HSPCs) offers great opportunities to develop new treatments for a number of malignant and non-malignant diseases. Efficient gene-editing in HSPCs has been achieved using electroporation and/or viral transduction to deliver the CRISPR-complex, but cellular toxicity is a drawback of currently used methods. Nanoparticle (NP)-based gene-editing strategies can further enhance the gene-editing potential of HSPCs and provide a delivery system for in vivo application. Here, we developed CRISPR/Cas9-PLGA-NPs efficiently encapsulating Cas9 protein, single gRNA and a fluorescent probe. The initial ‘burst’ of Cas9 and gRNA release was followed by a sustained release pattern. CRISPR/Cas9-PLGA-NPs were taken up and processed by human HSPCs, without inducing cellular cytotoxicity. Upon escape from the lysosomal compartment, CRISPR/Cas9-PLGA-NPs-mediated gene editing of the γ-globin gene locus resulted in elevated expression of fetal hemoglobin (HbF) in primary erythroid cells. The development of CRISPR/Cas9-PLGA-NPs provides an attractive tool for the delivery of the CRISPR components to target HSPCs, and could provide the basis for in vivo treatment of hemoglobinopathies and other genetic diseases.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120580, hdl.handle.net/1765/132683
Biophysical Genomics, Department Cell Biology & Genetics

Cruz, L.J. (Luis J.), van Dijk, T., Vepris, O. (Olena), Li, T.M.W.Y. (Tracy M.W.Y.), Schomann, T., Baldazzi, F. (Fabio), … Eich, C. (2021). PLGA-Nanoparticles for Intracellular Delivery of the CRISPR-Complex to Elevate Fetal Globin Expression in Erythroid Cells. Biomaterials, 268. doi:10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120580