bioRxiv. 2021;[preprint] doi:10.1101/2021.08.11.455834
CFTR gene mutations that result in the introduction of premature termination codons (PTCs) are common in cystic fibrosis (CF). This mutation type causes a severe form of the disease, likely because of low CFTR mRNA expression as a result of nonsense mediated mRNA decay (NMD), as well as production of a non-functional, truncated CFTR protein. Current therapeutics for CF, which target residual protein function, are less effective in patients with these types of mutations, due in part to low CFTR protein levels. Splice-switching antisense oligonucleotides (ASOs) designed to induce skipping of exons in order to restore the mRNA open reading frame have shown therapeutic promise pre-clinically and clinically for a number of diseases. We hypothesized that ASO-mediated skipping of CFTR exon 23 would recover CFTR activity associated with terminating mutations in the exon, including CFTR p.W1282X, the 5th most common mutation in CF. Here, we show that CFTR lacking the amino acids encoding exon 23 is partially functional and responsive to corrector and modulator drugs currently in clinical use. ASO-induced exon 23 skipping rescued CFTR expression and chloride current in primary human bronchial epithelial cells isolated from homozygote CFTR-W1282X patients. These results support the use of ASOs in treating CF patients with CFTR class I mutations in exon 23 that result in unstable CFTR mRNA and truncations of the CFTR protein.
Organism or Cell Type:
cell culture: CFTR-W1282X bronchial epithelial line, primary CFTR-W1282X epithelial cells