Self-Assembled Multivalent Aptamer Nanoparticles With Potential CAR-like Characteristics Could Activate T Cells and Inhibit Melanoma Growth

Mol Ther Oncolytics. 2020 Mar 13;17:9-20. doi: 10.1016/j.omto.2020.03.002. eCollection 2020 Jun 26.


In this study, the CAR-like multivalent aptamer nanoparticles (X-polymers) were assembled with the dimer of murine CD28 RNA aptamer (CD28Apt7), the tetramer of CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte-associated protein 4) RNA aptamer (Del60), and a folic acid labeled ssDNA fragment in a stable nucleic acid three-way junction scaffold (3WJ). Results showed that the X-polymers could recognize both the mCD28 and mCTLA-4 molecules. Confocal imaging and flow cytometry assays showed that the X-polymers could target both T cells and B16 cells in vitro. With the first costimulatory signals provided by the CD3 antibodies, the X-polymers could increase T cell proliferation and reverse the inhibitory effect of interleukin-2 (IL-2) secreting caused by exogenous B7.1 molecules on T cells in vitro. Results of our study also showed that X-polymers could inhibit mouse melanoma B16 cell growth both in vitro and in vivo. Our study demonstrated for the first time that the multivalent aptamer nanoparticle-activated T cells could fulfill the function of CAR-T, which promised a novel approach to developing a multi-functional design of aptamer drugs with potential CAR-like characteristics to enhance the safety of CAR-T cell immunotherapy.

Keywords: T cells; aptamers; melanoma; multivalent; self-assemble.