Challenges in Quantifying Cytosine Methylation in the HIV Provirus.
Published Web Locationhttps://doi.org/10.1128/mbio.02268-18
DNA methylation is an epigenetic mechanism most commonly associated with transcriptional repression. While it is clear that DNA methylation can silence HIV proviral expression in in vitro latency models, its correlation with HIV persistence and expression in vivo is ambiguous, particularly in persons living with HIV (PLWH) receiving antiretroviral therapy (ART). Several factors potentially contribute to discrepancies between results in the literature, including differences in integration sites, functional proviral load, sampling bias, and stochastic PCR amplification. Recent studies into genomic features of cytosine methylation sites in mammalian genes offer potentially significant insights into this mechanism. Here, we discuss the importance of these factors in the context of the HIV.