Matharu N, Rattanasopha S, Tamura S, Maliskova L, Wang Y, Bernard A, Hardin A, Eckalbar WL, Vaisse C, Ahituv N
A wide range of human diseases result from haploinsufficiency, where the function of one of the two gene copies is lost. Here, we targeted the remaining functional copy of a haploinsufficient gene using CRISPR-mediated activation (CRISPRa) in and heterozygous mouse models to rescue their obesity phenotype. Transgenic-based CRISPRa targeting of the promoter or its distant hypothalamic enhancer up-regulated its expression from the endogenous functional allele in a tissue-specific manner, rescuing the obesity phenotype in heterozygous mice. To evaluate the therapeutic potential of CRISPRa, we injected CRISPRa-recombinant adeno-associated virus into the hypothalamus, which led to reversal of the obesity phenotype in and haploinsufficient mice. Our results suggest that endogenous gene up-regulation could be a potential strategy to treat altered gene dosage diseases.