CRISPR delivery particles for developing therapeutic strategies in metabolic disease

Academic Article


  • ABSTRACT RNA-guided engineered nucleases derived from a prokaryotic adaptive immune system known as CRISPR-Cas represent a promising platform for gene deletion and editing. As a therapeutic approach, direct delivery of Cas9 protein and guide RNA could circumvent the safety problems associated with plasmid delivery and therefore represents an attractive tool for genome engineering. Gene deletion or editing in adipose tissue to enhance its energy expenditure, fat oxidation and secretion of bioactive factors through a “browning” process presents a potential therapeutic strategy to alleviate metabolic disease. Here, we developed novel CRISPR delivery particles, denoted CriPs, composed of nano-size complexes of Cas9 protein and single guide (sg)RNA, coated with an amphipathic peptide called Endo-Porter that mediates entry into cells. Efficient CRISPR-Cas9 mediated gene deletion of ectopically expressed Green fluorescent protein (GFP) by CriPs was achieved in multiple cell types including a macrophage cell line, primary macrophages and primary pre-adipocytes. Significant GFP loss was also observed in peritoneal exudate cells with minimum systemic toxicity in GFP expressing mice following intraperitoneal injection of CriPs containing sgRNA targeting Gfp . Furthermore, the disruption of the Nrip1 gene in white adipocytes by CriPs enhanced adipocyte “browning” with a marked increase of UCP1 expression. Deletion of Nrip1 by CriPs did not produce detectable off-target effects. Thus CriPs represent a novel CRISPR delivery system for Cas9 and sgRNA that is effective for ablating targeted gene products in cultured cells and in vivo, and provide a potential therapeutic strategy for metabolic disease.
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  • Shen Y; Cohen J; Nicoloro S; Kelly M; Yenilmez B; Henriques F; Tsagkaraki E; Edwards YJK; Hu X; Friedline R