UMMS Affiliation

Department of Molecular, Cell and Cancer Biology; RNA Therapeutics Institute; Program in Molecular Medicine; Li Weibo Institute for Rare Diseases Research; Horae Gene Therapy Center; Department of Pediatrics; Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences

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Document Type



Cancer Biology | Disease Modeling | Genetics and Genomics | Neoplasms | Therapeutics


Prime editors (PEs) mediate genome modification without utilizing double-stranded DNA breaks or exogenous donor DNA as a template. PEs facilitate nucleotide substitutions or local insertions or deletions within the genome based on the template sequence encoded within the prime editing guide RNA (pegRNA). However, the efficacy of prime editing in adult mice has not been established. Here we report an NLS-optimized SpCas9-based prime editor that improves genome editing efficiency in both fluorescent reporter cells and at endogenous loci in cultured cell lines. Using this genome modification system, we could also seed tumor formation through somatic cell editing in the adult mouse. Finally, we successfully utilize dual adeno-associated virus (AAVs) for the delivery of a split-intein prime editor and demonstrate that this system enables the correction of a pathogenic mutation in the mouse liver. Our findings further establish the broad potential of this genome editing technology for the directed installation of sequence modifications in vivo, with important implications for disease modeling and correction.


Gene therapy, Cancer genetics, CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing

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Copyright © The Author(s) 2021. Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit

DOI of Published Version



Liu P, Liang SQ, Zheng C, Mintzer E, Zhao YG, Ponnienselvan K, Mir A, Sontheimer EJ, Gao G, Flotte TR, Wolfe SA, Xue W. Improved prime editors enable pathogenic allele correction and cancer modelling in adult mice. Nat Commun. 2021 Apr 9;12(1):2121. doi: 10.1038/s41467-021-22295-w. PMID: 33837189; PMCID: PMC8035190. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Nature communications

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Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.