Researchers at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) havefound that anti-HIV RNA can reduce production of the virus ininfected cells by as much as 99 percent.

Saswati Chatterjee, Philip Johnson and K.K. Wong Jr. used astheir antisense targets sequences that are present in all HIV-1transcripts -- the TAR sequence, essential to viral transcriptionand replication, and the polyadenylation sequence.

As detailed in last week's issue of Science, the researchers usedan adeno-associated virus as a vector to deliver their HIV-1-specific antisense RNA to cultured human embryonic kidneycells. When challenged with HIV, "clones expressing HIV-1antisense RNA inhibited the accumulation of HIV-1 messengerRNA." The antisense vector was also able to confer HIV-1resistance to a cultured human T lymphocyte line: HIVreplication was inhibited by 94 to 98 percent.

The authors suggested that their retroviral vector could beused to confer "intracellular resistance to progenitor bonemarrow cells that give rise to the renewable targets (Tlymphocytes, monocytes and macrophages) of HIV-1 infection,"thus leading to a strategy for gene therapy.

-- Jennifer Van Brunt Senior Editor

(c) 1997 American Health Consultants. All rights reserved.