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AIDS. 2009 Jan 14;23(2):213-21. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e32831c5480.

Oligonucleotide-mediated retroviral RNase H activation leads to reduced HIV-1 titer in patient-derived plasma.

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Institute of Medical Virology, University of Zurich, Zurich, Switzerland.



The retroviral RNase H is essential for viral replication. This component has not yet been extensively studied for antiviral therapy. It can be activated by an oligodeoxynucleotide (ODN) resulting in self-destruction of the virions.


To examine antiviral potential of ODN in clinical samples using plasma of HIV-1-infected patients.


Plasma of 19 HIV-1-infected patients from Zurich and 10 HIV-1 isolates from Africa and drug-resistant strains were processed for ex-vivo treatment.


Cell-free virions were treated with ODN in the plasma and HIV RNA was measured by quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (qRT-PCR). Furthermore, infectivity of the treated virions was tested on primary human peripheral blood mononuclear cells.


Cell-free virions in plasma contained significantly less intact HIV RNA upon treatment with ODN (P = 0.0004), and their infectivity was decreased 52-fold (P = 0.0004). In 39% of the Zurich samples, infectivity was reduced more than 10-fold, in 33% more than 100-fold, and in 28% more than 1000-fold. Also, the isolates from Africa exhibited a 63-fold reduction in infectivity (P = 0.0069) with 80% of the isolates responding more than 10-fold, 40% more than 100-fold, and 10% more than 1000-fold.


Significant reduction of plasma HIV RNA levels and infectivity of treated virions was achieved on the basis of induced self-destruction of HIV observed with clinical samples. Reduction of viral load ex vivo was designed as model for potential effects in vivo. Premature activation rather than inhibition of a viral enzyme could be a model strategy for future antiretroviral control.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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