Argininosuccinate lyase deficiency (ASLD) is a recessive metabolic disorder caused by variants in ASL. In an essential step in urea synthesis, ASL breaks down argininosuccinate (ASA), a pathognomonic ASLD biomarker. The severe disease forms lead to hyperammonemia, neurological injury, and even early death. The current treatments are unsatisfactory, involving a strict low-protein diet, arginine supplementation, nitrogen scavenging, and in some cases, liver transplantation. An unmet need exists for improved, efficient therapies. Here, we show the potential of a lipid nanoparticle-mediated CRISPR approach using adenine base editors (ABEs) for ASLD treatment. To model ASLD, we first generated human-induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) from biopsies of individuals homozygous for the Finnish founder variant (c.1153C>T [p.Arg385Cys]) and edited this variant using the ABE. We then differentiated the hiPSCs into hepatocyte-like cells that showed a 1,000-fold decrease in ASA levels compared to those of isogenic non-edited cells. Lastly, we tested three different FDA-approved lipid nanoparticle formulations to deliver the ABE-encoding RNA and the sgRNA targeting the ASL variant. This approach efficiently edited the ASL variant in fibroblasts with no apparent cell toxicity and minimal off-target effects. Further, the treatment resulted in a significant decrease in ASA, to levels of healthy donors, indicating restoration of the urea cycle. Our work describes a highly efficient approach to editing the disease-causing ASL variant and restoring the function of the urea cycle. This method relies on RNA delivered by lipid nanoparticles, which is compatible with clinical applications, improves its safety profile, and allows for scalable production.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)714-728
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 4 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • ABE
  • argininosuccinic aciduria
  • ASL
  • genetic defect
  • genome editing
  • lipid nanoparticles
  • liver
  • LNP
  • mRNA
  • 1184 Genetics, developmental biology, physiology
  • 3111 Biomedicine

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