J Mol Diagn. 2023 Aug;25(8):540-554. doi: 10.1016/j.jmoldx.2023.04.006.
Leber hereditary optic neuropathy (LHON) is the most common maternally inherited mitochondrial disease, with >90% of cases harboring one of three point variants (m.3460G>A, m.11778G>A, and m.14484T>C). Rapid and sensitive diagnosis of LHON variants is urgently needed for early diagnosis and timely treatment after onset, which is currently limited. Herein, we adapted the Cas12a-based DNA detection platform for LHON mitochondrial variant diagnosis. Single-strand guide CRISPR RNAs and enzymatic recombinase amplification primers were first screened, the CRISPR/Cas12a system was then optimized with restriction enzymes, and finally compared with Sanger sequencing and next-generation sequencing (NGS) in multicenter clinical samples. This approach can be completed within 30 minutes using only one drop of blood and could reach a sensitivity of 1% of heteroplasmy. Among the 182 multicenter clinical samples, the CRISPR/Cas12a detection system showed high consistency with Sanger sequencing and NGS in both specificity and sensitivity. Notably, a sample harboring a de novo 3.78% m.11778G>A variant detected by NGS, but not by Sanger sequencing, was successfully confirmed using the CRISPR/Cas12a assay, which proved the effectiveness of our method. Overall, our CRISPR/Cas12a detection system provides an alternative for rapid, convenient, and sensitive detection of LHON variants, exhibiting great potential for clinical practice.