While gene therapy approaches are promising for FA, consistent induction of therapeutic FXN protein expression that is sub-toxic has proven challenging, and numerous therapeutic approaches are being tested in animal models. FXN (hFXN in humans, mFXN in mice) is proteolytically modified in mitochondria to produce mature FXN. However, unlike endogenous hFXN, endogenous mFXN is further processed into N-terminally truncated, extra-mitochondrial mFXN forms of unknown function. This study assessed mature exogenous hFXN expression levels in the heart and liver of C57Bl/6 mice 7-10 months after intravenous administration of a recombinant adeno-associated virus encoding hFXN (AAVrh.10hFXN) and examined the potential for hFXN truncation in mice. AAVrh.10hFXN induced dose-dependent expression of hFXN in the heart and liver. Interestingly, hFXN was processed into truncated forms, but found at lower levels than mature hFXN. However, the truncations were at different positions than mFXN. AAVrh.10hFXN induced mature hFXN expression in mouse heart and liver at levels that approximated endogenous mFXN levels. These results demonstrate that AAVrh.10hFXN may induce expression of therapeutic levels of mature hFXN in mice.

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