[Zhonghua yan ke za zhi] Chinese journal of ophthalmology

[The research advances and applications of genome editing in hereditary eye diseases].

PMID 28494568


Genome editing is a cutting-edge technology that generates DNA double strand breaks at the specific genomic DNA sequence through nuclease recognition and cleavage, and then achieves insertion, replacement, or deletion of the target gene via endogenous DNA repair mechanisms, such as non-homologous end joining, homology directed repair, and homologous recombination. So far, more than 600 human hereditary eye diseases and systemic hereditary diseases with ocular phenotypes have been found. However, most of these diseases are of incompletely elucidated pathogenesis and without effective therapies. Genome editing technology can precisely target and alter the genomes of animals, establish animal models of the hereditary diseases, and elucidate the relationship between the target gene and the disease phenotype, thereby providing a powerful approach to studying the pathogenic mechanisms underlying the hereditary eye diseases. In addition, correction of gene mutations by the genome editing brings a new hope to gene therapy for the hereditary eye diseases. This review introduces the molecular characteristics of 4 major enzymes used in the genome editing, including homing endonucleases, zinc finger nucleases, transcription activator-like effector nucleases, and clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR)/ CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9), and summarizes the current applications of this technology in investigating the pathogenic mechanisms underlying the hereditary eye diseases. (Chin J Ophthalmol, 2017, 53: 386-371).