Blocking interaction of viral gp120 and CD4-expressing T cells by single-stranded DNA aptamers

Nianxi Zhao, Sung Nan Pei, Parag Parekh, Eric Salazar, Youli Zu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


To investigate the potential clinical application of aptamers to prevention of HIV infection, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) aptamers specific for CD4 were developed using the systematic evolution of ligands by exponential enrichment approach and next generation sequencing. In contrast to RNA-based aptamers, the developed ssDNA aptamers were stable in human serum up to 12 h. Cell binding assays revealed that the aptamers specifically targeted CD4-expressing cells with high binding affinity (Kd = 1.59 nM), a concentration within the range required for therapeutic application. Importantly, the aptamers selectively bound CD4 on human cells and disrupted the interaction of viral gp120 to CD4 receptors, which is a prerequisite step of HIV-1 infection. Functional studies showed that the aptamer polymers significantly blocked binding of viral gp120 to CD4-expressing cells by up to 70% inhibition. These findings provide a new approach to prevent HIV-1 transmission using oligonucleotide aptamers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-18
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Biochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 2014


  • gp120
  • HIV infection prevention
  • Hybrid SELEX
  • Specific blocking
  • ssDNA CD4 aptamer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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