Deep Characterization and Comparison of Different Retrovirus-like Particles Preloaded with CRISPR/Cas9 RNPs


The CRISPR/Cas system has a broad range of possible medical applications, but its clinical translation has been hampered, particularly by the lack of safe and efficient vector systems mediating the short-term expression of its components. Recently, different virus-like particles (VLPs) have been introduced as promising vectors for the delivery of CRISPR/Cas genome editing components. Here, we characterized and directly compared three different types of retrovirus-based (R) VLPs, two derived from the γ-retrovirus murine leukemia virus (gRVLPs and "enhanced" egRVLPs) and one from the lentivirus human immunodeficiency virus, HIV (LVLPs). First, we unified and optimized the production of the different RVLPs. To ensure maximal comparability of the produced RVLPs, we adapted several assays, including nanoparticle tracking analysis (NTA), multi-parametric imaging flow cytometry (IFC), and Cas9-ELISA, to analyze their morphology, surface composition, size, and concentration. Next, we comparatively tested the three RVLPs targeting different genes in 293T model cells. Using identical gRNAs, we found egRVLPs to mediate the most efficient editing. Functional analyses indicated better cargo (i.e., Cas9) transfer and/or release as the underlying reason for their superior performance. Finally, we compared on- and off-target activities of the three RVLPs in human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSC) exploiting the clinically relevant C-C motif chemokine receptor 5 (CCR5) as the target. Again, egRVLPs facilitated the highest, almost 100% knockout rates, importantly with minimal off-target activity. In conclusion, in direct comparison, egRVLPs were the most efficient RVLPs. Moreover, we established methods for in-depth characterization of VLPs, facilitating their validation and thus more predictable and safe application.

Authors Wichmann M, Maire CL, Nuppenau N, Habiballa M, Uhde A, Kolbe K, Schröder T, Lamszus K, Fehse B, Głów D
Journal International journal of molecular sciences
Publication Date 2023 Jul 13;24(14)
PubMed 37511168
PubMed Central PMC10380221
DOI 10.3390/ijms241411399

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