Research / Research Highlights

Research Highlights

Research Highlights /

Research Highlights

Prof. Hyuk-Jin Cha

Enhancing genome editing in hPSCs through dual inhibition of DNA damage response and repair pathways

Precise genome editing is crucial for establishing isogenic human disease models and ex vivo stem cell therapy from the patient-derived hPSCs. Unlike Cas9-mediated knock-in, cytosine base editor and prime editor achieve the desirable gene correction without inducing DNA double strand breaks. However, hPSCs possess highly active DNA repair pathways and are particularly susceptible to p53-dependent cell death. These unique characteristics impede the efficiency of gene editing in hPSCs. Here, we demonstrate that dual inhibition of p53-mediated cell death and distinct activation of the DNA damage repair system upon DNA damage by cytosine base editor or prime editor additively enhanced editing efficiency in hPSCs. The BE4stem system comprised of p53DD, a dominant negative p53, and three UNG inhibitor, engineered to specifically diminish base excision repair, improves cytosine base editor efficiency in hPSCs. Addition of dominant negative MLH1 to inhibit mismatch repair activity and p53DD in the conventional prime editor system also significantly enhances prime editor efficiency in hPSCs. Thus, combined inhibition of the distinct cellular cascades engaged in hPSCs upon gene editing could significantly enhance precise genome editing in these cells.

more >>