This review considers research into the treatment of Usher syndrome, a deaf-blindness syndrome inherited in an autosomal recessive manner. Usher syndrome mutations are markedly heterogeneous, involving many different genes, and research grants are limited due to minimal patient populations. Furthermore, gene augmentation therapies are impossible in all but three Usher syndromes as the cDNA sequence exceeds the 4.7 kb AAV packaging limit. It is, therefore, vital to focus research efforts on alternative tools with the broadest applicability. The CRISPR field took off in recent years following the discovery of the DNA editing activity of Cas9 in 2012. New generations of CRISPR tools have succeeded the original CRISPR/Cas9 model to enable more sophisticated genomic amendments such as epigenetic modification and precise sequence alterations. This review will evaluate the most popular CRISPR tools to date: CRISPR/Cas9, base editing, and prime editing. It will consider these tools in terms of applicability (in relation to the ten most prevalent USH2A mutations), safety, efficiency, and in vivo delivery potential with the intention of guiding future research investment.
Int J Mol Sci
CRISPR/Cas9, Usher syndrome, base-editing, gene therapy, genome engineering, prime-editing