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.

CRISPR, Gene-editing, Hematopoietic stem and progenitor cells, Nanoparticles, Sickle cell disease
dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.biomaterials.2020.120580, hdl.handle.net/1765/132683
Biomaterials
Biophysical Genomics, Department Cell Biology & Genetics

Cruz, L.J. (Luis J.), van Dijk, T.B, 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