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1.  Allele Dependent Silencing of Collagen Type I Using Small Interfering RNAs Targeting 3'UTR Indels - a Novel Therapeutic Approach in Osteogenesis Imperfecta 
Osteogenesis imperfecta, also known as “brittle bone disease”, is a heterogeneous disorder of connective tissue generally caused by dominant mutations in the genes COL1A1 and COL1A2, encoding the α1 and α2 chains of type I (pro)collagen. Symptomatic patients are usually prescribed bisphosphonates, but this treatment is neither curative nor sufficient. A promising field is gene silencing through RNA interference. In this study small interfering RNAs (siRNAs) were designed to target each allele of 3'UTR insertion/deletion polymorphisms (indels) in COL1A1 (rs3840870) and COL1A2 (rs3917). For both indels, the frequency of heterozygous individuals was determined to be approximately 50% in Swedish cohorts of healthy controls as well as in patients with osteogenesis imperfecta. Cultures of primary human bone derived cells were transfected with siRNAs through magnet-assisted transfection. cDNA from transfected cells was sequenced in order to measure targeted allele/non-targeted allele ratios and the overall degree of silencing was assessed by quantitative PCR. Successful allele dependent silencing was observed, with promising results for siRNAs complementary to both the insertion and non-insertion harboring alleles. In COL1A1 cDNA the indel allele ratios were shifted from 1 to 0.09 and 0.19 for the insertion and non-insertion allele respectively while the equivalent resulting ratios for COL1A2 were 0.05 and 0.01. Reductions in mRNA abundance were also demonstrated; in cells treated with siRNAs targeting the COL1A1 alleles the average COL1A1 mRNA levels were reduced 65% and 78% compared to negative control levels and in cells treated with COL1A2 siRNAs the average COL1A2 mRNA levels were decreased 26% and 49% of those observed in the corresponding negative controls. In conclusion, allele dependent silencing of collagen type I utilizing 3'UTR indels common in the general population constitutes a promising mutation independent therapeutic approach for osteogenesis imperfecta.
doi:10.7150/ijms.5774
PMCID: PMC3752721  PMID: 23983594
osteogenesis imperfecta; collagen type I; siRNA
2.  COL1 C-propeptide Cleavage Site Mutations Cause High Bone Mass Osteogenesis Imperfecta 
Human mutation  2011;32(6):598-609.
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is most often caused by mutations in the type I procollagen genes (COL1A1/COL1A2). We identified two children with substitutions in the type I procollagen C-propeptide cleavage site, which disrupt a unique processing step in collagen maturation and define a novel phenotype within OI. The patients have mild OI caused by mutations in COL1A1 (Patient 1: p.Asp1219Asn) or COL1A2 (Patient 2: p.Ala1119Thr), respectively. Patient 1 L1-L4 DXA z-score was +3.9 and pQCT vBMD was +3.1; Patient 2 had L1-L4 DXA z-score of 0.0 and pQCT vBMD of −1.8. Patient BMD contrasts with radiographic osteopenia and histomorphometry without osteosclerosis. Mutant procollagen processing is impaired in pericellular and in vitro assays. Patient dermal collagen fibrils have irregular borders. Incorporation of pC-collagen into matrix leads to increased bone mineralization. FT-IR imaging confirms elevated mineral/matrix ratios in both patients, along with increased collagen maturation in trabecular bone, compared to normal or OI controls. Bone mineralization density distribution revealed a marked shift toward increased mineralization density for both patients. Patient 1 has areas of higher and lower bone mineralization than controls; Patient 2’s bone matrix has a mineral content exceeding even classical OI bone. These patients define a new phenotype of high BMD OI and demonstrate that procollagen C-propeptide cleavage is crucial to normal bone mineralization.
doi:10.1002/humu.21475
PMCID: PMC3103631  PMID: 21344539
Osteogenesis imperfecta; C-propeptide; collagen; C-proteinase; mineralization; high bone mass
3.  Allele dependent silencing of COL1A2 using small interfering RNAs 
Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is generally caused by a dominant mutation in Collagen I, encoded by the genes COL1A1 and COL1A2. To date there is no satisfactory therapy for OI, but inactivation of the mutant allele through small interfering RNAs (siRNA) is a promising approach, as siRNAs targeting each allele of a polymorphism could be used for allele-specific silencing irrespective of the location of the actual mutations. In this study we examined the allele dependent effects of several tiled siRNAs targeting a region surrounding an exonic COL1A2 T/C polymorphism (rs1800222) in heterozygous primary human bone cells. Relative abundances of COL1A2 alleles were determined by cDNA sequencing and overall COL1A2 abundance was analyzed by quantitative PCR. One of the siRNAs decreased overall COL1A2 abundance by 71% of which 75% was due to silencing of the targeted T-allele. In conclusion, allele-preferential silencing of Collagen type I genes may be a future therapeutic approach for OI.
PMCID: PMC2583335  PMID: 19015742
COL1A2; allele-preferential silencing; Osteogenesis imperfecta

Results 1-3 (3)