Genome Editing of Pik3cd Impedes Abnormal Retinal Angiogenesis. Hum Gene Ther 2023;34(1-2):30-41.Abstract.
Abnormal angiogenesis is associated with myriad human diseases, including proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Signaling transduction through phosphoinositide 3-kinases (PI3Ks) plays a critical role in angiogenesis. Herein, we showed that p110δ, the catalytic subunit of PI3Kδ, was highly expressed in pathological retinal vascular endothelial cells (ECs) in a mouse model of oxygen-induced retinopathy (OIR) and in fibrovascular membranes from patients with PDR. To explore novel intervention with PI3Kδ expression, we developed a recombinant dual adeno-associated viral (rAAV) system for delivering CRISPR/Cas9 in which Streptococcus pyogenes (Sp) Cas9 expression was driven by an endothelial specific promoter of the intercellular adhesion molecule 2 (pICAM2) to edit genomic Pik3cd, the gene encoding p110δ. We then demonstrated that infection of cultured mouse vascular ECs with the dual rAAV1s of rAAV1-pICAM2-SpCas9 and rAAV1-SpGuide targeting genomic Pik3cd resulted in 80% DNA insertion/deletion in the locus of genomic Pik3cd and 70% depletion of p110δ expression. Furthermore, we showed that in the mouse model of OIR editing retinal Pik3cd with the dual rAAV1s resulted in not only a significant decrease in p110δ expression, and Akt activation, but also a dramatic reduction in pathological retinal angiogenesis. These findings reveal that Pik3cd editing is a novel approach to treating abnormal retinal angiogenesis.