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Nature communications

In vivo base editing of post-mitotic sensory cells.


PMID 29872041

Abstract

Programmable nucleases can introduce precise changes to genomic DNA through homology-directed repair (HDR). Unfortunately, HDR is largely restricted to mitotic cells, and is typically accompanied by an excess of stochastic insertions and deletions (indels). Here we present an in vivo base editing strategy that addresses these limitations. We use nuclease-free base editing to install a S33F mutation in β-catenin that blocks β-catenin phosphorylation, impedes β-catenin degradation, and upregulates Wnt signaling. In vitro, base editing installs the S33F mutation with a 200-fold higher editing:indel ratio than HDR. In post-mitotic cells in mouse inner ear, injection of base editor protein:RNA:lipid installs this mutation, resulting in Wnt activation that induces mitosis of cochlear supporting cells and cellular reprogramming. In contrast, injection of HDR agents does not induce Wnt upregulation. These results establish a strategy for modifying posttranslational states in signaling pathways, and an approach to precision editing in post-mitotic tissues.

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