In silico analysis of pathogenic CRB1 single nucleotide variants and their amenability to base editing as a potential lead for therapeutic intervention
Bellingrath JS., McClements ME., Kaukonen M., Fischer MD., Maclaren RE.
Mutations in the Crumbs homolog 1 (CRB1) gene cause both autosomal recessive retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and Leber congenital amaurosis (LCA). Since three separate CRB1 isoforms are expressed at meaningful levels in the human retina, base editing shows promise as a therapeutic approach. This retrospective analysis aims to summarise the reported pathogenic CRB1 variants and investigate their amenability to treatment with currently available DNA base editors. Pathogenic single nucleotide variants (SNVs) were extracted from the Leiden open-source variation database (LOVD) and ClinVar database and coded by mutational consequence. They were then ana-lyzed for their amenability to currently available DNA base editors and available PAM sites from a selection of different Cas proteins. Of a total of 1115 unique CRB1 variants, 69% were classified as pathogenic SNVs. Of these, 62% were amenable to currently available DNA BEs. Adenine base editors (ABEs) alone have the potential of targeting 34% of pathogenic SNVs; 19% were amenable to a CBE while GBEs could target an additional 9%. Of the pathogenic SNVs targetable with a DNA BE, 87% had a PAM site for a Cas protein. Of the 33 most frequently reported pathogenic SNVs, 70% were targetable with a base editor. The most common pathogenic variant was c.2843G>A, p.Cys948Arg, which is targetable with an ABE. Since 62% of pathogenic CRB1 SNVs are amenable to correction with a base editor and 87% of these mutations had a suitable PAM site, gene editing represents a promising therapeutic avenue for CRB1-associated retinal degenerations.