Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy 2017 05 17() pii 10.1016/j.ymthe.2017.04.027
Transplantation of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) with a naturally occurring CCR5 mutation confers a loss of detectable HIV-1 in the patient, making ablation of the CCR5 gene in HSCs an ideal therapy for an HIV-1 cure. Although CCR5 disruption has been attempted in CD4(+) T cells and hematopoietic stem/progenitor cells (HSPCs), efficient gene editing with high specificity and long-term therapeutic potential remains a major challenge for clinical translation. Here, we established a CRISPR/Cas9 gene editing system in human CD34(+) HSPCs and achieved efficient CCR5 ablation evaluated in long-term reconstituted NOD/Prkdc(scid)/IL-2Rγ(null) mice. The CCR5 disruption efficiency in our system remained robust in secondary transplanted repopulating hematopoietic cells. More importantly, an HIV-1 resistance effect was observed as indicated by significant reduction of virus titration and enrichment of human CD4(+) T cells. Hence, we successfully established a CRISPR/Cas9 mediated CCR5 ablating system in long-term HSCs, which confers HIV-1 resistance in vivo. Our study provides evidence for translating CCR5 gene-edited HSC transplantation for an HIV cure to the clinic.