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scientific articles

Allele-specific siRNA Knockdown as a Personalized Treatment Strategy for Vascular Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome in Human Fibroblasts

key information

source: The FASEB Journal

year: 2012

authors: Müller GA, Hansen U, Xu Z, Griswold B, Talan MI, McDonnell NB, Briest W


The vascular type of the Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (vEDS) is caused by dominant-negative mutations in the procollagen type III (COL3A1) gene. Patients with this autosomal dominant disorder have a shortened life expectancy due to complications from ruptured vessels or hollow organs. We tested the effectiveness of allele-specific RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce the mutated phenotype in fibroblasts. Small-interfering RNAs (siRNAs) discriminating between wild-type and mutant COL3A1 allele were identified by a luciferase reporter gene assay and in primary fibroblasts from a normal donor and a patient with vEDS. The best discriminative siRNA with the mutation at position 10 resulted in >90% silencing of the mutant allele without affecting the wild-type allele. Transmission and immunogold electron microscopy of extracted extracellular matrices from untreated fibroblasts of the patient with vEDS revealed structurally abnormal fibrils. After siRNA treatment, collagen fibrils became similar to fibrils from fibroblasts of normal and COL3A1 haploinsufficient donors. In addition, it was shown that expression of mutated COL3A1 activates the unfolded protein response and that reduction of the amount of mutated protein by siRNA reduces cellular stress. Taken together, the results provide evidence that allele-specific siRNAs are able to reduce negative effects of mutated COL3A1 proteins. Thus, the application of allele-specific RNAi may be a promising direction for future personalized therapies to reduce the severity of vEDS.

organization: National Institute on Aging

DOI: 10.1096/fj.11-182162

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