Article Text

Cell-Type–Specific Aptamer and Aptamer-Small Interfering RNA Conjugates for Targeted Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type 1 Therapy
  1. Jiehua Zhou, PhD*,
  2. John Rossi, PhD*†
  1. From the *Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology and †Irell and Manella Graduate School of Biological Sciences, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, Duarte, CA.
  1. Received May 21, 2014, and in revised form June 20, 2014.
  2. Accepted for publication July 9, 2014.
  3. Reprints: Jiehua Zhou, PhD, Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte, CA. E-mail: jzhou{at}
  4. Supported by National Institutes of Health grants R01AI29329, R01AI42552, and R01HL07470 to J.J.R. and P01AI099783 to Kevin Morris (The Scripps Research Institute) that is subcontracted to J.J.R.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is a virus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome, a chronic and incurable disease of the human immune system. As the standard of care for the patients with HIV-1, current highly active antiretroviral treatment has been therapeutically effective in most patients; however, it is not curative, and highly active antiretroviral treatment is intolerable because of severe adverse effects. Therefore, nucleic acid-based therapeutics, such as antisense oligonucleotide, ribozyme, messenger RNA, RNA interference (RNAi)-based therapeutics, aptamer, and so on, have been actively developed as alternative or adjuvant agents for those chemical antiviral drugs to surmount those drawbacks. The combinatorial use of various antiviral nucleic acids could be more efficacious in blocking viral replication and preventing the emergence of resistant variants. In this regard, RNAi can function as a gene-specific therapeutic option for controlling HIV-1 replication. Another type of therapeutic nucleic acid—aptamers—shows promise as a new and potent class of anti-HIV agent and can additionally function as a cell-type–specific delivery vehicle for targeted RNAi. The combined use of small interfering RNA (siRNAs) and aptamers could effectively block viral replication and prevent the emergence of resistant variants. The present review offers a brief overview of the use of cell-type–specific aptamer and aptamer-siRNA conjugates’ development in our group for the treatment of HIV-1. Their potentials for targeted delivering RNAi therapeutics (eg, siRNA) and suppressing HIV-1 replication in vitro and in humanized animal model will be highlighted here.

Key Words
  • HIV-1 gp120 aptamer
  • HIV-1
  • RNA interference
  • siRNA
  • cell-type–specific siRNA delivery

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