Modeling Phenotypic Heterogeneity of Glycogen Storage Disease Type 1a Liver Disease in Mice by Somatic CRISPR/CRISPR-associated protein 9-Mediated Gene Editing

Martijn G S Rutten, Terry G J Derks, Nicolette C A Huijkman, Trijnie Bos, Niels J Kloosterhuis, Kees C W A van de Kolk, Justina C Wolters, Mirjam H Koster, Laura Bongiovanni, Rachel E Thomas, Alain de Bruin, Bart van de Sluis, Maaike H Oosterveer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)
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Background and Aims Patients with glycogen storage disease type 1a (GSD-1a) primarily present with life-threatening hypoglycemia and display severe liver disease characterized by hepatomegaly. Despite strict dietary management, long-term complications still occur, such as liver tumor development. Variations in residual glucose-6-phosphatase (G6PC1) activity likely contribute to phenotypic heterogeneity in biochemical symptoms and complications between patients. However, lack of insight into the relationship between G6PC1 activity and symptoms/complications and poor understanding of the underlying disease mechanisms pose major challenges to provide optimal health care and quality of life for GSD-1a patients. Currently available GSD-1a animal models are not suitable to systematically investigate the relationship between hepatic G6PC activity and phenotypic heterogeneity or the contribution of gene-gene interactions (GGIs) in the liver. Approach and Results To meet these needs, we generated and characterized a hepatocyte-specific GSD-1a mouse model using somatic CRISPR/CRISPR-associated protein 9 (Cas9)-mediated gene editing. Hepatic G6pc editing reduced hepatic G6PC activity up to 98% and resulted in failure to thrive, fasting hypoglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hepatomegaly, hepatic steatosis (HS), and increased liver tumor incidence. This approach was furthermore successful in simultaneously modulating hepatic G6PC and carbohydrate response element-binding protein, a transcription factor that is activated in GSD-1a and protects against HS under these conditions. Importantly, it also allowed for the modeling of a spectrum of GSD-1a phenotypes in terms of hepatic G6PC activity, fasting hypoglycemia, hypertriglyceridemia, hepatomegaly and HS. Conclusions In conclusion, we show that somatic CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing allows for the modeling of a spectrum of hepatocyte-borne GSD-1a disease symptoms in mice and to efficiently study GGIs in the liver. This approach opens perspectives for translational research and will likely contribute to personalized treatments for GSD-1a and other genetic liver diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2491-2507
Number of pages17
Issue number5
Early online date15-Aug-2021
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2021


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