Mutation-agnostic RNA interference with engineered replacement rescues Tmc1-related hearing loss

Yoichiro Iwasa, Miles J. Klimara, Hidekane Yoshimura, William D. Walls, Ryotaro Omichi, Cody A. West, Seiji B. Shibata, Paul T. Ranum, Richard Jh Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Hearing loss is the most common sensory deficit, of which genetic etiologies are a frequent cause. Dominant and recessive mutations in TMC1, a gene encoding the pore-forming subunit of the hair cell mechanotransduction channel, cause DFNA36 and DFNB7/11, respectively, accounting for ∼2% of genetic hearing loss. Previous work has established the efficacy of mutation-targeted RNAi in treatment of murine models of autosomal dominant non-syndromic deafness. However, application of such approaches is limited by the infeasibility of development and validation of novel constructs for each variant. We developed an allele-non-specific approach consisting of mutation-agnostic RNAi suppression of both mutant and WT alleles, co-delivered with a knockdown-resistant engineered WT allele with or without the use of woodchuck hepatitis virus post-transcriptional regulatory element (WPRE) to augment transgene expression. This therapeutic construct was delivered into the mature murine model of DFNA36 with an AAV vector and achieved robust hair cell and auditory brainstem response preservation. However, WPRE-enhanced Tmc1 expression resulted in inferior outcomes, suggesting a role for gene dosage optimization in future TMC1 gene therapy development.

Original languageEnglish
JournalLife Science Alliance
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


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