Elimination of Mutant mtDNA by an Optimized mpTALEN Restores Differentiation Capacities of Heteroplasmic MELAS-iPSCs

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Various mitochondrial diseases, including mitochondrial encephalopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes (MELAS), are associated with heteroplasmic mutations in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA). Herein, we refined a previously generated G13513A mtDNA-targeted platinum transcription activator-like effector nuclease (G13513A-mpTALEN) to more efficiently manipulate mtDNA heteroplasmy in MELAS-induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). Introduction of a nonconventional TALE array at position 6 in the mpTALEN monomer, which recognizes the sequence around the m.13513G>A position, improved the mpTALEN effect on the heteroplasmic shift. Furthermore, the reduced expression of the new Lv-mpTALEN(PKLB)/R-mpTALEN(PKR6C) pair by modifying codons in their expression vectors could suppress the reduction in the mtDNA copy number, which contributed to the rapid recovery of mtDNA in mpTALEN-applied iPSCs during subsequent culturing. Moreover, MELAS-iPSCs with a high proportion of G13513A mutant mtDNA showed unusual properties of spontaneous, embryoid body-mediated differentiation in vitro, which was relieved by decreasing the heteroplasmy level with G13513A-mpTALEN. Additionally, drug-inducible, myogenic differentiation 1 (MYOD)-transfected MELAS-iPSCs (MyoD-iPSCs) efficiently differentiated into myosin heavy chain-positive myocytes, with or without mutant mtDNA. Hence, heteroplasmic MyoD-iPSCs controlled by fine-tuned mpTALENs may contribute to a detailed analysis of the relationship between mutation load and cellular phenotypes in disease modeling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)54-68
Number of pages15
JournalMolecular Therapy Methods and Clinical Development
Publication statusPublished - 12-03-2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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