Ectopic expression of anti-HIV-1 shRNAs protects CD8+ T cells modified with CD4ζ CAR from HIV-1 infection and alleviates impairment of cell proliferation

Academic Article


  • Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are artificially engineered receptors that confer a desired specificity to immune effector T cells. As an HIV-1-specific CAR, CD4ζ CAR has been extensively tested in vitro as well as in clinical trials. T cells modified with this CAR mediated highly potent anti-HIV-1 activities in vitro and were well-tolerated in vivo, but exerted limited effects on viral load and reservoir size due to poor survival and/or functionality of the transduced cells in patients. We hypothesize that ectopic expression of CD4ζ on CD8+ T cells renders them susceptible to HIV-1 infection, resulting in poor survival of those cells. To test this possibility, highly purified CD8+ T cells were genetically modified with a CD4ζ-encoding lentiviral vector and infected with HIV-1. CD8+ T cells were vulnerable to HIV-1 infection upon expression of CD4ζ as evidenced by elevated levels of p24Gag in cells and culture supernatants. Concurrently, the number of CD4ζ-modified CD8+ T cells was reduced relative to control cells upon HIV-1 infection. To protect these cells from HIV-1 infection, we co-expressed two anti-HIV-1 shRNAs previously developed by our group together with CD4ζ. This combination vector was able to suppress HIV-1 infection without impairing HIV-1-dependent effector activities of CD4ζ. In addition, the number of CD4ζ-modified CD8+ T cells maintained similar levels to that of the control even under HIV-1 infection. These results suggest that protecting CD4ζ-modified CD8+ T cells from HIV-1 infection is required for prolonged HIV-1-specific immune surveillance.
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    Author List

  • Kamata M; Kim PY; Ng HL; Ringpis GEE; Kranz E; Chan J; O'Connor S; Yang OO; Chen ISY
  • Start Page

  • 216
  • End Page

  • 221
  • Volume

  • 463
  • Issue

  • 3