Establishment of HIV-1 resistance in CD4+ T cells by genome editing using zinc-finger nucleases

Nat Biotechnol. 2008 Jul;26(7):808-16. doi: 10.1038/nbt1410. Epub 2008 Jun 29.


Homozygosity for the naturally occurring Delta32 deletion in the HIV co-receptor CCR5 confers resistance to HIV-1 infection. We generated an HIV-resistant genotype de novo using engineered zinc-finger nucleases (ZFNs) to disrupt endogenous CCR5. Transient expression of CCR5 ZFNs permanently and specifically disrupted approximately 50% of CCR5 alleles in a pool of primary human CD4(+) T cells. Genetic disruption of CCR5 provided robust, stable and heritable protection against HIV-1 infection in vitro and in vivo in a NOG model of HIV infection. HIV-1-infected mice engrafted with ZFN-modified CD4(+) T cells had lower viral loads and higher CD4(+) T-cell counts than mice engrafted with wild-type CD4(+) T cells, consistent with the potential to reconstitute immune function in individuals with HIV/AIDS by maintenance of an HIV-resistant CD4(+) T-cell population. Thus adoptive transfer of ex vivo expanded CCR5 ZFN-modified autologous CD4(+) T cells in HIV patients is an attractive approach for the treatment of HIV-1 infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adoptive Transfer / methods*
  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / enzymology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / transplantation*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chromosome Mapping / methods
  • Deoxyribonucleases / genetics*
  • Genetic Engineering / methods
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Mice
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zinc Fingers / genetics*


  • Deoxyribonucleases