PublicatiesCharacterization and AAV-mediated CRB gene augmentation in human-derived CRB1KO and CRB1KOCRB2+/- retinal organoids
The majority of patients with mutations in CRB1 develop either early-onset retinitis pigmentosa as young children or Leber congenital amaurosis as newborns. The cause for the phenotypic variability in CRB1-associated retinopathies is unknown, but might be linked to differences in CRB1 and CRB2 protein levels in Müller glial cells and photoreceptor cells. Here, CRB1KO and CRB1KOCRB2+/- differentiation day 210 retinal organoids showed a significant decrease in the number of photoreceptor nuclei in a row and a significant increase in the number of photoreceptor cell nuclei above the outer limiting membrane. This phenotype with outer retinal abnormalities is similar to CRB1 patient-derived retinal organoids and Crb1 or Crb2 mutant mouse retinal disease models. The CRB1KO and CRB1KOCRB2+/- retinal organoids develop an additional inner retinal phenotype due to the complete loss of CRB1 from Müller glial cells, suggesting an essential role for CRB1 in proper localization of neuronal cell types. Adeno-associated viral (AAV) transduction was explored at early and late stages of organoid development. Moreover, AAV-mediated gene augmentation therapy with AAV.hCRB2 improved the outer retinal phenotype in CRB1KO retinal organoids. Altogether, these data provide essential information for future gene therapy approaches for patients with CRB1-associated retinal dystrophies.