Mutations in specific genes, including synuclein alpha (SNCA) that encodes the α-synuclein protein, are known to be risk factors for sporadic Parkinson's disease (PD), as well as critical factors for familial PD. In particular, A53T-mutated SNCA (A53T-SNCA) is a well-studied familial pathologic mutation in PD. However, techniques for deletion of the mutated SNCA gene in vivo have not been developed. Here, we used the CRISPR-Cas9 system to delete A53T-SNCA in vitro as well as in vivo. Adeno-associated virus carrying SaCas9-KKH with a single-guide RNA targeting A53T-SNCA significantly reduced A53T-SNCA expression levels in vitro. Furthermore, we tested its therapeutic potential in vivo in a viral A53T-SNCA-overexpressing rat model of PD. Gene deletion of A53T-SNCA significantly rescued the overexpression of α-synuclein, reactive microgliosis, dopaminergic neurodegeneration, and parkinsonian motor symptoms. Our findings propose CRISPR-Cas9 system as a potential prevention strategy for A53T-SNCA-specific PD.
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