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Bietti crystalline dystrophy (BCD) is an inherited retinal disease (IRD) caused by mutations in the CYP4V2 gene. It is a relatively common cause of IRD in east Asia. A number of features of this disease make it highly amenable to gene supplementation therapy. This study aims to validate a series of essential precursor in vitro experiments prior to developing a clinical gene therapy for BCD. We demonstrated that HEK293, ARPE19, and patient induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC)-derived RPE cells transduced with AAV2 vectors encoding codon optimization of CYP4V2 (AAV2.coCYP4V2) resulted in elevated protein expression levels of CYP4V2 compared to those transduced with AAV2 vectors encoding wild type CYP4V2 (AAV2.wtCYP4V2), as assessed by immunocytochemistry and western blot. Similarly, we observed significantly increased CYP4V2 enzyme activity in cells transduced with AAV2.coCYP4V2 compared to those transduced with AAV2.wtCYP4V2. We also showed CYP4V2 expression in human RPE/choroid explants transduced with AAV2.coCYP4V2 compared to those transduced with AAV2.wtCYP4V2. These preclinical data support the further development of a gene supplementation therapy for a currently untreatable blinding condition-BCD. Codon-optimized CYP4V2 transgene was superior to wild type in terms of protein expression and enzyme activity. Ex vivo culture of human RPE cells provided an effective approach to test AAV-mediated transgene delivery.

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Journal article


Sci Rep

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