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Title: A general theoretical framework to design base editors with reduced bystander effects

Base editors (BEs) hold great potential for medical applications of gene therapy. However, high precision base editing requires BEs that can discriminate between the target base and multiple bystander bases within a narrow active window (4 – 10 nucleotides). Here, to assist in the design of these optimized editors, we propose a discrete-state stochastic approach to build an analytical model that explicitly evaluates the probabilities of editing the target base and bystanders. Combined with all-atom molecular dynamic simulations, our model reproduces the experimental data of A3A-BE3 and its variants for targeting the “TC” motif and bystander editing. Analyzing this approach, we propose several general principles that can guide the design of BEs with a reduced bystander effect. These principles are then applied to design a series of point mutations at T218 position of A3G-BEs to further reduce its bystander editing. We verify experimentally that the new mutations provide different levels of stringency on reducing the bystander editing at different genomic loci, which is consistent with our theoretical model. Thus, our study provides a computational-aided platform to assist in the scientifically-based design of BEs with reduced bystander effects.

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Award ID(s):
2019745 1953453 1941106
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ; ; ;
Publisher / Repository:
Nature Publishing Group
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nature Communications
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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