Title

Reading Frame Repair of TTN Truncation Variants Restores Titin Quantity and Functions

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-18-2022

Publication Title

Circulation

Keywords

JGM

JAX Source

Circulation 2022 Jan 18; 145(3):194-205

Volume

145

Issue

3

First Page

194

Last Page

205

ISSN

1524-4539

PMID

34905694

DOI

https://doi.org/10.1161/circulationaha.120.049997

Grant

HL125807, HL142787, EB028898, GT10703

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Titin truncation variants (TTNtvs) are the most common inheritable risk factor for dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM), a disease with high morbidity and mortality. The pathogenicity of TTNtvs has been associated with structural localization as A-band variants overlapping myosin heavy chain-binding domains are more pathogenic than I-band variants by incompletely understood mechanisms. Demonstrating why A-band variants are highly pathogenic for DCM could reveal new insights into DCM pathogenesis, titin (TTN) functions, and therapeutic targets.

METHODS: We constructed human cardiomyocyte models harboring DCM-associated TTNtvs within A-band and I-band structural domains using induced pluripotent stem cell and CRISPR technologies. We characterized normal TTN isoforms and variant-specific truncation peptides by their expression levels and cardiomyocyte localization using TTN protein gel electrophoresis and immunofluorescence, respectively. Using CRISPR to ablate A-band variant-specific truncation peptides through introduction of a proximal I-band TTNtv, we studied genetic mechanisms in single cardiomyocyte and 3-dimensional, biomimetic cardiac microtissue functional assays. Last, we engineered a full-length TTN protein reporter assay and used next-generation sequencing assays to develop a CRISPR therapeutic for somatic cell genome editing TTNtvs.

RESULTS: An A-band TTNtv dose-dependently impaired cardiac microtissue twitch force, reduced full-length TTN levels, and produced abundant TTN truncation peptides. TTN truncation peptides integrated into nascent myofibril-like structures and impaired myofibrillogenesis. CRISPR ablation of TTN truncation peptides using a proximal I-band TTNtv partially restored cardiac microtissue twitch force deficits. Cardiomyocyte genome editing using SpCas9 and a TTNtv-specific guide RNA restored the TTN protein reading frame, which increased full-length TTN protein levels, reduced TTN truncation peptides, and increased sarcomere function in cardiac microtissue assays.

CONCLUSIONS: An A-band TTNtv diminished sarcomere function greater than an I-band TTNtv in proportion to estimated DCM pathogenicity. Although both TTNtvs resulted in full-length TTN haploinsufficiency, only the A-band TTNtv produced TTN truncation peptides that impaired myofibrillogenesis and sarcomere function. CRISPR-mediated reading frame repair of the A-band TTNtv restored functional deficits, and could be adapted as a one-and-done genome editing strategy to target ≈30% of DCM-associated TTNtvs.

Comments

The authors thank Anthony Carcio (The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine) for expertise in flow cytometry. They thank Justin McDonough, PhD (The Jackson Laboratory for Genomic Medicine) for expertise in cellular engineering.

Please contact the Joan Staats Library for information regarding this document.

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