The goal of this project is to develop small non-coding RNA directed transcriptional gene silencing as a therapeutic modality for the treatment of HIV-1 infection. We have learned that small non-coding RNAs targeted to specific loci in the HIV-1 or CCR5 promoters can result in long-term stable epigenetic silencing of HIV-1 or CCR5. Notably, this form of silencing in the context of HIV-1 is refractory to viral mutation. We have also recently developed and humanized the Pddlp DNA excision machinery from Tetrahymina thermophila and found that this system can be used to excise those loci targeted for transcriptional silencing by the small non-coding RNA. The work proposed here will mechanistically validate several different complimentary approaches that may result in a novel therapeutic capable of regulating transcription or excision of HIV-1 or CCR5 in a long-term manner. These approaches center around 3 methods of targeted delivery: (1) conditionally replicating HIV-2 vectors, (2) CCR5 or gp120 binding aptamers and (3) CXCR4 or CCR5 binding nanoparticles, in order to introduce non-coding RNAs and excision complex capable of transcriptionally silencing and excising HIV-1 or CCR5 in HIV-1 infected and relevant cell types. These approaches will be developed and mechanistically validated in vitro and in vivo as well as critically assessed for unintended secondary off-target effects. This proposal will be the first stage of validating several targeted delivery approaches to be used as a cell specific delivery strategy for non-coding RNA directed transcriptional gene silencing and RNA directed gene excision, a mechanism that has the potential to result in long-term stable silencing of viral expression in infected individuals in the absence of viral resistance.
This project will develop and mechanistically characterize several methods to deliver non-coding RNAs capable of transcripfionally regulafing and/or excising HIV-1 or CCR5 in a cell targeted manner in vivo. Such a methodology has the potential to result in long-term stable silencing or excision of HIV-1 from infected individuals.
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|Lazar, Daniel C; Morris, Kevin V; Saayman, Sheena M (2016) The emerging role of long non-coding RNAs in HIV infection. Virus Res 212:114-26|
|Hewson, Chris; Morris, Kevin V (2016) Form and Function of Exosome-Associated Long Non-coding RNAs in Cancer. Curr Top Microbiol Immunol 394:41-56|
|Saayman, Sheena M; Lazar, Daniel C; Scott, Tristan A et al. (2016) Potent and Targeted Activation of Latent HIV-1 Using the CRISPR/dCas9 Activator Complex. Mol Ther 24:488-98|
|Weinberg, Marc S; Morris, Kevin V (2016) Transcriptional gene silencing in humans. Nucleic Acids Res 44:6505-17|
|Trakman, Laura; Hewson, Chris; Burdach, Jon et al. (2016) RNA Directed Modulation of Phenotypic Plasticity in Human Cells. PLoS One 11:e0152424|
|Saayman, Sheena M; Ackley, Amanda; Burdach, Jon et al. (2016) Long Non-coding RNA BGas Regulates the Cystic Fibrosis Transmembrane Conductance Regulator. Mol Ther 24:1351-7|
|Hewson, Chris; Capraro, David; Burdach, Jon et al. (2016) Extracellular vesicle associated long non-coding RNAs functionally enhance cell viability. Noncoding RNA Res 1:3-11|
|Fortes, Puri; Morris, Kevin V (2016) Long noncoding RNAs in viral infections. Virus Res 212:1-11|
|Yu, Albert D; Wang, Zichen; Morris, Kevin V (2015) Long noncoding RNAs: a potent source of regulation in immunity and disease. Immunol Cell Biol 93:277-83|
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