A PD-L1 aptamer selected by loss-gain cell-SELEX conjugated with paclitaxel for treating triple-negative breast cancer

Xiaoqiu Wu, Fangfei Li*, Yongshu Li, Yuanyuan Yu, Chao Liang, Baoting Zhang, Chuanzong Zhao, Aiping Lu*, Ge Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Background: The clinical challenges of triple-negative breast cancer (TNBC) includes the lack of targeted therapy and chemoresistance. TNBC has relatively high PD-L1 expression, and PD-L1 antibody in combination with nab-paclitaxel has been approved by FDA for TNBC treatment. Aptamers, also termed chemical antibody, are widely used in targeted drug delivery. The present study aimed to select a DNA aptamer that could specifically bind and deliver drugs to TNBC cells.

Material/Methods: An innovative loss-gain cell-SELEX strategy was used to select DNA aptamer for PD-L1 protein. Construction of PD-L1 knock-out and over-expression MDA-MB-231 cell lines were conducted through transfection and confirmed by western blot and flow cytometry. Confocal microscopy and flow cytometry were used to analyze the binding ability of aptamer with TNBC cells. The cytotoxicity of aptamer-paclitaxel complex against TNBC cells was evaluated by Cell Counting Kit-8 assay. The reactivation of the T cell function by aptamer was measured by IL-2 enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay after T cells co-cultured with tumor cells.

Results: In this work, using an innovative loss-gain cell-SELEX strategy, we screened a PD-L1-targeting aptamer. PD-L1 aptamer selectively bound to PD-L1 over-expressed TNBC cells with a dissociation constant in the nanomolar range. PD-L1 aptamer could also inhibit PD-1/PD-L1 interaction and restore the function of T cells. Moreover, we developed a PD-L1 aptamer-paclitaxel conjugate which showed improved cellular uptake and anti-proliferation efficacy in PD-L1 over-expressed TNBC cells.

Conclusions: In summary, these findings suggest that the selected PD-L1 aptamer might have potential implication in immune modulation and targeted therapy against TNBC.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere925583
Number of pages10
JournalMedical Science Monitor
Publication statusPublished - 23 Jun 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Medicine(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Aptamers, Nucleotide
  • Programmed cell death 1 receptor
  • SELEX aptamer technique
  • Triple negative breast neoplasms


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