Summary The C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) is a receptor expressed by T cells and macrophages that serves as a coreceptor for macrophage-tropic HIV-1. Loss of CCR5 is associated with resistance to HIV-1. Here, we combine the live-cell-based SELEX with high-throughput sequencing technology to generate CCR5 RNA aptamers capable of specifically targeting HIV-1 susceptible cells (as small interfering RNA [siRNA] delivery agent) and inhibiting HIV-1 infectivity (as antiviral agent) via block of the CCR5 required for HIV-1 to enter cells. One of the best candidates, G-3, efficiently bound and was internalized into human CCR5-expressing cells. The G-3 specifically neutralized R5 virus infection in primary peripheral blood mononuclear cells, and in vivo generated human CD4+ T cells with a nanomolar inhibitory concentration 50%. G-3 was also capable of transferring functional siRNAs to CCR5-expressing cells. Collectively, the cell-specific, internalizing, CCR5-targeted aptamers and aptamer-siRNA conjugates offer promise for overcoming some of the current challenges of drug resistance in HIV-1 by providing cell-type- or tissue-specific delivery of various therapeutic moieties.
Zhou, J., Satheesan, S., Li, H., Weinberg, M. S., Morris, K. V., Burnett, J. C., & Rossi, J. J. (2015). Cell-specific RNA aptamer against human CCR5 specifically targets HIV-1 susceptible cells and inhibits HIV-1 infectivity. Chemistry and Biology, 22(3), 379–390. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chembiol.2015.01.005