PLoS ONE 2014
HIV-1 infection results in a chronic but incurable illness since long-term HAART can keep the virus to an undetectable level. However, discontinuation of therapy rapidly increases viral burden. Moreover, patients under HAART frequently develop various metabolic disorders and HIV-associated neuronal disease. Today, the main challenge of HIV-1 research is the elimination of the residual virus in infected individuals. The current HIV-1 diagnostics are largely comprised of serological and nucleic acid based technologies. Our goal is to integrate the nanotrap® technology into a standard research tool that will allow sensitive detection of HIV-1 infection. This study demonstrates that majority of HIV-1 virions in culture supernatants and Tat/Nef proteins spiked in culture medium can be captured by nanotrap® particles. To determine the binding affinities of different baits, we incubated target molecules with nanotrap particles at room temperature. After short sequestration, materials were either eluted or remained attached to nanotrap particles prior to analysis. The unique affinity baits of nanotrap® particles preferentially bound HIV-1 materials while excluded albumin. A high level capture of Tat or Tat peptide by NT082 and NT084 particles was measured by western blot (WB). Intracellular Nef protein was captured by NT080, while membrane-associated Nef was captured by NT086 and also detected by WB. Selective capture of HIV-1 particles by NT073 and NT086 was measured by reverse transcriptase assay, while capture of infectious HIV-1 by these nanoparticles was demonstrated by functional transactivation in TZM-bl cells. We also demonstrated specific capture of HIV-1 particles and exosomes-containing TAR-RNA in patients' serum by NT086 and NT082 particles, respectively, using specific qRT-PCR. Collectively, our data indicate that certain types of nanotrap® particles selectively capture specific HIV-1 molecules, and we propose to use this technology as a platform to enhance HIV-1 detection by concentrating viral proteins and infectious virions from infected samples.