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Inconsistent reversal of HIV-1 latency ex vivo by antigens of HIV-1, CMV, and other infectious agents.

  • Author(s): Vollbrecht, Thomas;
  • Angerstein, Aaron O;
  • Menke, Bryson;
  • Kumar, Nikesh M;
  • de Oliveira, Michelli Faria;
  • Richman, Douglas D;
  • Guatelli, John C
  • et al.

Published Web Location

https://europepmc.org/article/MED/33228686
No data is associated with this publication.
Abstract

Background

A reservoir of replication-competent but latent virus is the main obstacle to a cure for HIV-1 infection. Much of this reservoir resides in memory CD4 T cells. We hypothesized that these cells can be reactivated with antigens from HIV-1 and other common pathogens to reverse latency.

Results

We obtained mononuclear cells from the peripheral blood of antiretroviral-treated patients with suppressed viremia. We tested pools of peptides and proteins derived from HIV-1 and from other pathogens including CMV for their ability to reverse latency ex vivo by activation of memory responses. We assessed activation of the CD4 T cells by measuring the up-regulation of cell-surface CD69. We assessed HIV-1 expression using two assays: a real-time PCR assay for virion-associated viral RNA and a droplet digital PCR assay for cell-associated, multiply spliced viral mRNA. Reversal of latency occurred in a minority of cells from some participants, but no single antigen induced HIV-1 expression ex vivo consistently. When reversal of latency was induced by a specific peptide pool or protein, the extent was proportionally greater than that of T cell activation.

Conclusions

In this group of patients in whom antiretroviral therapy was started during chronic infection, the latent reservoir does not appear to consistently reside in CD4 T cells of a predominant antigen-specificity. Peptide-antigens reversed HIV-1 latency ex vivo with modest and variable activity. When latency was reversed by specific peptides or proteins, it was proportionally greater than the extent of T cell activation, suggesting partial enrichment of the latent reservoir in cells of specific antigen-reactivity.

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