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CD4+ T cell-mimicking nanoparticles encapsulating DIABLO/SMAC mimetics broadly neutralize HIV-1 and selectively kill HIV-1-infected cells.


HIV-1 is a major global health challenge. The development of an effective vaccine and a therapeutic cure are top priorities. The creation of vaccines that focus an antibody response toward a particular epitope of a protein has shown promise, but the genetic diversity of HIV-1 stymies this progress. Therapeutic strategies that provide effective and broad-spectrum neutralization against HIV-1 infection are highly desirable. Methods: We investigated the potential of nanoengineered CD4+ T cell membrane-coated nanoparticles (TNP) encapsulating the DIABLO/SMAC mimetics LCL-161 or AT-406 (also known as SM-406 or Debio 1143) to both neutralize HIV-1 and selectively kill HIV-1-infected resting CD4+ T cells and macrophages. Results: DIABLO/SMAC mimetic-loaded TNP displayed outstanding neutralizing breadth and potency, and selectively kill HIV-1-infected cells via autophagy-dependent apoptosis while having no drug-induced off-target or cytotoxic effects on bystander cells. Genetic inhibition of early stages of autophagy abolishes this effect. Conclusion: DIABLO/SMAC mimetic loaded TNP have the potential to be used as therapeutic agents to neutralize cell-free HIV-1 and to kill specifically HIV-1-infected cells as part of an HIV-1 cure strategy.

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