AAV Vectors Expressing LDLR Gain-of-Function Variants Demonstrate Increased Efficacy in Mouse Models of Familial HypercholesterolemiaNovelty and Significance
Rationale: Familial hypercholesterolemia is a genetic disorder that arises because of loss-of-function mutations in the low-density lipoprotein receptor (LDLR) and homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia is a candidate for gene therapy using adeno-associated viral vectors. Proprotein convertase subtilisin/kexin type 9 (PCSK9) and inducible degrader of LDLR (IDOL) negatively regulate LDLR protein and could dampen adeno-associated viral vector encoded LDLR expression.
Objective: We sought to create vectors expressing gain-of-function human LDLR variants that are resistant to degradation by human PCSK9 (hPCSK9) and IDOL and thereby enhance hepatic LDLR protein abundance and plasma LDL cholesterol reduction.
Methods and Results: Amino acid substitutions were introduced into the coding sequence of human LDLR cDNA to reduce interaction with hPCSK9 and human IDOL. A panel of mutant human LDLRs was initially screened in vitro for escape from PCSK9. The variant human LDLR-L318D was further evaluated using a mouse model of homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia lacking endogenous LDLR and apolipoprotein B mRNA editing enzyme catalytic, APOBEC-1 (double knockout). Administration of wild-type human LDLR to double knockout mice, expressing hPCSK9, led to diminished LDLR activity. However, LDLR-L318D was resistant to hPCSK9-mediated degradation and effectively reduced cholesterol levels. Similarly, the LDLR-K809R\C818A construct avoided human IDOL regulation and achieved stable reductions in serum cholesterol. An adeno-associated viral vector serotype 8.LDLR-L318D\K809R\C818A vector that carried all 3 amino acid substitutions conferred partial resistance to both hPCSK9- and human IDOL–mediated degradation.
Conclusions: Amino acid substitutions in the human LDLR confer partial resistance to PCSK9 and IDOL regulatory pathways with improved reduction in cholesterol levels and improve on a potential gene therapeutic approach to treat homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia subjects.
- genetic therapy
- hyperlipoproteinemia type II
- low-density lipoprotein receptor, human
- PCSK9 protein, human
- Received April 2, 2014.
- Revision received July 11, 2014.
- Accepted July 14, 2014.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.