A Comprehensive Haplotype-Targeting Strategy for Allele-Specific HTT Suppression in Huntington Disease

Chris Kay, Jennifer A. Collins, Nicholas S. Caron, Luciana de Andrade Agostinho, Hailey Findlay-Black, Lorenzo Casal, Dulika Sumathipala, Vajira H.W. Dissanayake, Mario Cornejo-Olivas, Fiona Baine, Amanda Krause, Jacquie L. Greenberg, Carmen Lúcia Antão Paiva, Ferdinando Squitieri, Michael R. Hayden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Huntington disease (HD) is a fatal neurodegenerative disorder caused by a gain-of-function mutation in HTT. Suppression of mutant HTT has emerged as a leading therapeutic strategy for HD, with allele-selective approaches targeting HTT SNPs now in clinical trials. Haplotypes associated with the HD mutation (A1, A2, A3a) represent panels of allele-specific gene silencing targets for efficient treatment of individuals with HD of Northern European and indigenous South American ancestry. Here we extend comprehensive haplotype analysis of the HD mutation to key populations of Southern European, South Asian, Middle Eastern, and admixed African ancestry. In each of these populations, the HD mutation occurs predominantly on the A2 HTT haplotype. Analysis of HD haplotypes across all affected population groups enables rational selection of candidate target SNPs for development of allele-selective gene silencing therapeutics worldwide. Targeting SNPs on the A1 and A2 haplotypes in parallel is essential to achieve treatment of the most HD-affected subjects in populations where HD is most prevalent. Current allele-specific approaches will leave a majority of individuals with HD untreated in populations where the HD mutation occurs most frequently on the A2 haplotype. We further demonstrate preclinical development of potent and selective ASOs targeting SNPs on the A2 HTT haplotype, representing an allele-specific treatment strategy for these individuals. On the basis of comprehensive haplotype analysis, we show the maximum proportion of HD-affected subjects that may be treated with three or four allele targets in different populations worldwide, informing current allele-specific HTT silencing strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1112-1125
Number of pages14
JournalAmerican Journal of Human Genetics
Issue number6
StatePublished - 5 Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Huntington disease
  • allele-specific
  • antisense
  • antisense oligonucleotides
  • gene silencing
  • haplogroups
  • haplotypes
  • neurogenetics
  • population genetics
  • preclinical development
  • rare diseases
  • therapeutics


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