Whole brain delivery of an instability-prone Mecp2 transgene improves behavioral and molecular pathological defects in mouse models of Rett syndrome

Mirko Luoni, Serena Giannelli, Marzia Tina Indrigo, Antonio Niro, Luca Massimino, Angelo Iannielli, Laura Passeri, Fabio Russo, Giuseppe Morabito, Piera Calamita, Silvia Gregori, Benjamin Deverman, Vania Broccoli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Rett syndrome is an incurable neurodevelopmental disorder caused by mutations in the gene encoding for methyl-CpG binding-protein 2 (MeCP2). Gene therapy for this disease presents inherent hurdles since MECP2 is expressed throughout the brain and its duplication leads to severe neurological conditions as well. Herein, we use the AAV-PHP.eB to deliver an instability-prone Mecp2 (iMecp2) transgene cassette which, increasing RNA destabilization and inefficient protein translation of the viral Mecp2 transgene, limits supraphysiological Mecp2 protein levels. Intravenous injections of the PHP.eB-iMecp2 virus in symptomatic Mecp2 mutant mice significantly improved locomotor activity, lifespan and gene expression normalization. Remarkably, PHP.eB-iMecp2 administration was well tolerated in female Mecp2 mutant or in wild-type animals. In contrast, we observed a strong immune response to the transgene in treated male Mecp2 mutant mice that was overcome by immunosuppression. Overall, PHP.eB-mediated delivery of iMecp2 provided widespread and efficient gene transfer maintaining physiological Mecp2 protein levels in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere52629
JournaleLife
Volume9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)

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