on Science translational medicine
by Tornabene P, Trapani I, Minopoli R, Centrulo M, Lupo M, de Simone S, Tiberi P, Dell'Aquila F, Marrocco E, Iodice C, Iuliano A, Gesualdo C, Rossi S, Giaquinto L, Albert S, Hoyng CB, Polishchuk E, Cremers FPM, Surace EM, Simonelli F, De Matteis MA, Polishchuk R, Auricchio A
Retinal gene therapy with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors holds promises for treating inherited and noninherited diseases of the eye. Although clinical data suggest that retinal gene therapy is safe and effective, delivery of large genes is hindered by the limited AAV cargo capacity. Protein trans-splicing mediated by split inteins is used by single-cell organisms to reconstitute proteins. Here, we show that delivery of multiple AAV vectors each encoding one of the fragments of target proteins flanked by short split inteins results in protein trans-splicing and full-length protein reconstitution in the retina of mice and pigs and in human retinal organoids. The reconstitution of large therapeutic proteins using this approach improved the phenotype of two mouse models of inherited retinal diseases. Our data support the use of split intein-mediated protein trans-splicing in combination with AAV subretinal delivery for gene therapy of inherited blindness due to mutations in large genes.
on Frontiers in neurology
by D'Amore A, Tessa A, Casali C, Dotti MT, Filla A, Silvestri G, Antenora A, Astrea G, Barghigiani M, Battini R, Battisti C, Bruno I, Cereda C, Dato C, Di Iorio G, Donadio V, Felicori M, Fini N, Fiorillo C, Gallone S, Gemignani F, Gigli GL, Graziano C, Guerrini R, Gurrieri F, Kariminejad A, Lieto M, Marques LourenḈo C, Malandrini A, Mandich P, Marcotulli C, Mari F, Massacesi L, Melone MAB, Mignarri A, Milone R, Musumeci O, Pegoraro E, Perna A, Petrucci A, Pini A, Pochiero F, Pons MR, Ricca I, Rossi S, Seri M, Stanzial F, Tinelli F, Toscano A, Valente M, Federico A, Rubegni A, Santorelli FM
Hereditary spastic paraplegia (HSP) refers to a group of genetically heterogeneous neurodegenerative motor neuron disorders characterized by progressive age-dependent loss of corticospinal motor tract function, lower limb spasticity, and weakness. Recent clinical use of next generation sequencing (NGS) methodologies suggests that they facilitate the diagnostic approach to HSP, but the power of NGS as a first-tier diagnostic procedure is unclear. The larger-than-expected genetic heterogeneity-there are over 80 potential disease-associated genes-and frequent overlap with other clinical conditions affecting the motor system make a molecular diagnosis in HSP cumbersome and time consuming. In a single-center, cross-sectional study, spanning 4 years, 239 subjects with a clinical diagnosis of HSP underwent molecular screening of a large set of genes, using two different customized NGS panels. The latest version of our targeted sequencing panel () comprises 118 genes known to be associated with HSP. Using an in-house validated bioinformatics pipeline and several tools to predict mutation pathogenicity, we obtained a positive diagnostic yield of 29% (70/239), whereas variants of unknown significance (VUS) were found in 86 patients (36%), and 83 cases remained unsolved. This study is among the largest screenings of consecutive HSP index cases enrolled in real-life clinical-diagnostic settings. Its results corroborate NGS as a modern, first-step procedure for molecular diagnosis of HSP. It also disclosed a significant number of new mutations in ultra-rare genes, expanding the clinical spectrum, and genetic landscape of HSP, at least in Italy.
on Multiple sclerosis (Houndmills, Basingstoke, England)
by Saccà F, Lanzillo R, Signori A, Maniscalco GT, Signoriello E, Lo Fermo S, Repice A, Annovazzi P, Baroncini D, Clerico M, Binello E, Cerqua R, Mataluni G, Bonavita S, Lavorgna L, Zarbo IR, Laroni A, Rossi S, Pareja Gutierrez L, La Gioia S, Frigeni B, Barcella V, Frau J, Cocco E, Fenu G, Torri Clerici V, Sartori A, Rasia S, Cordioli C, Di Sapio A, Pontecorvo S, Grasso R, Barrilà C, Russo CV, Esposito S, Ippolito D, Bovis F, Gallo F, Sormani MP,
With many options now available, first therapy choice is challenging in multiple sclerosis (MS) and depends mainly on neurologist and patient preferences.
on European journal of neurology
by Frau J, Sormani MP, Signori A, Realmuto S, Baroncini D, Annovazzi P, Signoriello E, Maniscalco G, La Gioia S, Cordioli C, Frigeni B, Rasia S, Fenu G, Grasso R, Sartori A, Lanzillo R, Stromillo ML, Rossi S, Forci B, Cocco E,
There is debate as to whether the apparent rebound after fingolimod discontinuation is related to the discontinuation itself, or if it is due to the natural course of highly active multiple sclerosis (MS). We aimed to survey the prevalence of severe reactivation and rebound after discontinuation of fingolimod in a cohort of Italian patients with MS.
on Retina (Philadelphia, Pa.)
by Di Iorio V, Orrico A, Esposito G, Melillo P, Rossi S, Sbordone S, Auricchio A, Testa F, Simonelli F
To investigate the natural history of Stargardt disease over a multiyear follow-up.
on JCI insight
by Botta S, de Prisco N, Marrocco E, Renda M, Sofia M, Curion F, Bacci ML, Ventrella D, Wilson C, Gesualdo C, Rossi S, Simonelli F, Surace EM
The genome-wide activity of transcription factors (TFs) on multiple regulatory elements precludes their use as gene-specific regulators. Here we show that ectopic expression of a TF in a cell-specific context can be used to silence the expression of a specific gene as a therapeutic approach to regulate gene expression in human disease. We selected the TF Krüppel-like factor 15 (KLF15) based on its putative ability to recognize a specific DNA sequence motif present in the rhodopsin (RHO) promoter and its lack of expression in terminally differentiated rod photoreceptors (the RHO-expressing cells). Adeno-associated virus (AAV) vector-mediated ectopic expression of KLF15 in rod photoreceptors of pigs enables Rho silencing with limited genome-wide transcriptional perturbations. Suppression of a RHO mutant allele by KLF15 corrects the phenotype of a mouse model of retinitis pigmentosa with no observed toxicity. Cell-specific-context conditioning of TF activity may prove a novel mode for somatic gene-targeted manipulation.
on Molecular therapy : the journal of the American Society of Gene Therapy
by Maddalena A, Tornabene P, Tiberi P, Minopoli R, Manfredi A, Mutarelli M, Rossi S, Simonelli F, Naggert JK, Cacchiarelli D, Auricchio A
Retinal gene transfer with adeno-associated viral (AAV) vectors holds great promise for the treatment of inherited retinal degenerations (IRDs). One limit of AAV is its transfer capacity of about 5 kb, which can be expanded to about 9 kb, using dual AAV vectors. This strategy would still not suffice for treatment of IRDs such as Usher syndrome type 1D or Alström syndrome type I (ALMS) due to mutations in CDH23 or ALMS1, respectively. To overcome this limitation, we generated triple AAV vectors, with a maximal transfer capacity of about 14 kb. Transcriptomic analysis following triple AAV transduction showed the expected full-length products along a number of aberrant transcripts. However, only the full-length transcripts are efficiently translated in vivo. We additionally showed that approximately 4% of mouse photoreceptors are transduced by triple AAV vectors and showed correct localization of recombinant ALMS1. The low-photoreceptor transduction levels might justify the modest and transient improvement we observe in the retina of a mouse model of ALMS. However, the levels of transduction mediated by triple AAV vectors in pig retina reached 40% of those observed with single vectors, and this bodes well for further improving the efficiency of triple AAV vectors in the retina.
by Laroni A, Signori A, Maniscalco GT, Lanzillo R, Russo CV, Binello E, Lo Fermo S, Repice A, Annovazzi P, Bonavita S, Clerico M, Baroncini D, Prosperini L, La Gioia S, Rossi S, Cocco E, Frau J, Torri Clerici V, Signoriello E, Sartori A, Zarbo IR, Rasia S, Cordioli C, Cerqua R, Di Sapio A, Lavorgna L, Pontecorvo S, Barrilà C, Saccà F, Frigeni B, Esposito S, Ippolito D, Gallo F, Sormani MP,
To assess whether the presence of concomitant diseases at multiple sclerosis (MS) diagnosis is associated with the choice and the treatment persistence in an Italian MS cohort.
on International ophthalmology
by Rossi S, Santamaria C, Boccia R, De Rosa L, D'Alterio FM, Simonelli F, De Rosa G
To evaluate the clinical results of standard, transepithelial (TE) and iontophoresis (I) corneal cross-linking (CXL), in patients with progressive keratoconus.
on Ophthalmic genetics
by Testa F, Melillo P, Rossi S, Marcelli V, de Benedictis A, Colucci R, Gallo B, Brunetti-Pierri R, Donati S, Azzolini C, Marciano E, Simonelli F
To investigate the prevalence of macular abnormalities in patients affected by Usher syndrome (USH), by comparing the clinical findings between two types (i.e., USH1 and USH2).