Precise CRISPR-Cas9 gene repair in autologous memory T cells to treat familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis


  • X. Li
  • T. Wirtz
  • T. Weber
  • M. Lebedin
  • E.D. Lowenstein
  • T. Sommermann
  • A. Zach
  • T. Yasuda
  • K. de la Rosa
  • V.T. Chu
  • J.H. Schulte
  • I. Müller
  • C. Kocks
  • K. Rajewsky


  • Science Immunology


  • Sci Immunol 9 (92): eadi0042


  • Familial hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (FHL) is an inherited, often fatal immune deficiency characterized by severe systemic hyperinflammation. Although allogeneic bone marrow transplantation can be curative, more effective therapies are urgently needed. FHL is caused by inactivating mutations in proteins that regulate cellular immunity. Here, we used an adeno-associated virus-based CRISPR-Cas9 system with an inhibitor of nonhomologous end joining to repair such mutations in potentially long-lived T cells ex vivo. Repaired CD8 memory T cells efficiently cured lethal hyperinflammation in a mouse model of Epstein-Barr virus-triggered FHL2, a subtype caused by perforin-1 (Prf1) deficiency. Furthermore, repair of PRF1 and Munc13-4 (UNC13D)-whose deficiency causes the FHL subtype FHL3-in mutant memory T cells from two critically ill patients with FHL restored T cell cytotoxicity. These results provide a starting point for the treatment of genetic T cell immune dysregulation syndromes with repaired autologous T cells.