BMB Reports 2018; 51(7): 315-316

Application of genome engineering for treatment of retinal diseases

Dong Hyun Jo1 & Jeong Hun Kim1,2,3,*
1Fight against Angiogenesis-Related Blindness (FARB) Laboratory, Clinical Research Institute, Seoul National University Hospital, Seoul 03080, Departments of 2Biomedical Sciences, 3Ophthalmology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul 03080, Korea
Correspondence to: E-mail:
Received: June 4, 2018; Published online: July 31, 2018.
© Korean Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. All rights reserved.

cc This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Genome engineering with clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) system can be used as a tool to correct pathological mutations or modulate gene expression levels associated with pathogenesis of human diseases. Owing to well-established local administration methods including intravitreal and subretinal injection, it is relatively easy to administer therapeutic genome engineering machinery to ocular tissues for treating retinal diseases. In this context, we have investigated the potential of in vivo genome engineering as a therapeutic approach in the form of ribonucleoprotein or CRISPR packaged in viral vectors. Major issues in therapeutic application of genome engineering include specificity and efficacy according to types of CRISPR system. In addition to previous platforms based on ribonucleoprotein and CRISPRassociated protein 9 derived from Campylobacter jejuni, we
evaluated the therapeutic effects of a CRISPR RNA-guided endonuclease derived from Lachnospiraceae bacterium ND2006 (LbCpf1) in regulating pathological angiogenesis in an animal model of wet-type age-related macular degeneration. LbCpf1 targeting Vegfa or Hif1a effectively disrupted the expression of genes in ocular tissues, resulting in suppression of choroidal neovascularization. It was also notable that there were no significant off-target effects in vivo.

Keywords: Clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats, Genome engineering, Intraocular injection, Retinal diseases, Ribonucleoprotein

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