Expression and in vitro evaluation of rhesus macaque wild type (wt) and modified CC chemokines

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Several human CC chemokines have been shown to inhibit HIV/SIV infection in vitro, providing the rationale for their potential use in vivo. However, because of their inherent physiological effect, such chemokines are reasoned to be of limited therapeutic value due to potential side effects. The knowledge that amino terminus modified or deleted human RANTES retains its receptor binding properties but loses its signaling properties has provided a means to use such modified chemokines in vivo for possible therapeutic benefits. In efforts to test the efficacy of such modified chemokines, our laboratory has cloned, sequenced, and prepared recombinant forms of wild-type (wt) and amino-terminus modified rhesus macaque chemokines MIP-1α, MIP-1β, and RANTES. These sets of chemokines were tested for their potential to inhibit SIV infection and induce signaling. The data showed that whereas wt chemokines retained both virus inhibitory and signaling functions, corresponding amino-terminus modified chemokines only showed virus inhibitory effects without detectable signaling effects. Such reagents will be valuable for evaluation of their therapeutic potential in vivo, either alone or as adjuncts to other chemotherapeutic drugs.

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