UMMS Affiliation

Department of Medicine; Horae Gene Therapy Center; RNA Therapeutics Institute; Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pulmonology

Publication Date


Document Type



Genetics and Genomics | Nervous System Diseases | Therapeutics


Huntington's disease is a devastating, incurable neurodegenerative disease affecting up to 12 per 100,000 patients worldwide. The disease is caused by a mutation in the Huntingtin (Htt) gene. There is interest in reducing mutant Huntingtin by targeting it at the mRNA level, but the maximum tolerable dose and long-term effects of such a treatment are unknown. Using a self-complementary AAV9 vector, we delivered a mir-155-based artificial miRNA under the control of the chicken beta-actin or human U6 promoter. In mouse brain, the artificial miRNA reduced the human huntingtin mRNA by 50%. The U6, but not the CbetaA promoter, produced the artificial miRNA at supraphysiologic levels. Embedding the antisense strand in a U6-mir-30 scaffold reduced expression of the antisense strand but increased the sense strand. In mice treated with scAAV9-U6-mir-155-HTT or scAAV9-CbetaA-mir-155-HTT, activated microglia were present around the injection site 1 month post-injection. Six months post-injection, mice treated with scAAV9-CbetaA-mir-155-HTT were indistinguishable from controls. Those that received scAAV9-U6-mir-155-HTT showed behavioral abnormalities and striatal damage. In conclusion, miRNA backbone and promoter can be used together to modulate expression levels and strand selection of artificial miRNAs, and in brain, the CbetaA promoter can provide an effective and safe dose of a human huntingtin miRNA.


AAV, HTT, Huntington’s disease, RNAi, gene therapy, huntingtin, miRNA, shRNA

DOI of Published Version



Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2017 Jun 16;7:324-334. doi: 10.1016/j.omtn.2017.04.011. Epub 2017 Apr 14. Link to article on publisher's site

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Molecular therapy. Nucleic acids

Related Resources

Link to Article in PubMed

PubMed ID


Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.