Gene expression profiling of HIV-1 latently infected memory CD4+ T cells
ABSTRACT: Suppressive HAART does not eradicate HIV-1 and viral DNA persists as a stably integrated form in the absence of viral particle production. As a consequence, latent reservoirs are refractory to antiretroviral drugs and invisible to immune surveillance. The largest latent reservoir consists of resting memory CD4+ T cells. These cells can resume viral infection when activated through antigen recognition, causing bursts of viremia (blips). Current therapies targeting latent HIV-1 have focused primarily on the “shock and kill” approach, which employs “anti-latency” drugs – most notably histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitors – to reactivate and flush latent provirus from its cellular reservoirs in the absence of global T cell activation. This approach is predicated on the notions that viral reactivation will lead to the demise of the infected cell, and that HAART will prevent spreading of the infection. On the contrary, recent evidence indicates that latently infected CD4+ T cells of HIV-1 patients on HAART survive in vitro viral reactivation with the HDAC inhibitor, SAHA, even when co-cultured with autologous CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTL). Moreover, it remains to be addressed the impact of anti-latency drugs on viral reservoirs undergoing low-level ongoing replication, inherently more resistant to the cytopathic effects of HIV-1 and residing in anatomical sites hard to reach for some antiretroviral drugs (e.g. macrophages). As a consequence, there is a need to develop alternative therapeutic approaches aimed at eliminating or decreasing the latent reservoir. Progress in that direction has been hindered by the lack of biomarkers uniquely or differentially expressed on latently infected compared to their uninfected counterparts. To gain insight into the cellular mechanisms that take place in the context of latency, and with the goal of identifying distinctive markers that distinguish latently infected CD4+ T cells, we have used an in vitro model developed in our laboratory to study the expression profile of latently infected CD4+ T cells by microarray analysis. We have used a culture system, previously established in our laboratory, to generate and isolate quiescent latently infected CD4+ T cells in vitro. In this in vitro HIV-1 latency model, CD4+ T cells are activated, infected with full length, replication competent HIV-1, and then returned to quiescence in the presence of IL-7, yielding a culture of quiescent latently infected and uninfected cells. We showed that HIV-1 p24gag expressed during viral replication persists in the cytoplasm of latently infected cells for several days before being degraded. Therefore, we exploited the presence of cytoplasmic p24gag to sort latently infected from uninfected cells by FACS from the same initial cell culture. Total RNA was isolated from sorted latently infected and uninfected cells generated from CD4+ T cells of four different donors. Paired RNA samples from infected and uninfected cells were labeled with Cy3 and Cy5 to allow dual-color competitive hybridization. Moreover, to control for the dye bias in our experiments, we implemented a dye swap protocol (reciprocal labeling) for paired RNA samples from 2 donors. Samples were analyzed by dual-color competitive hybridization on the Agilent whole human genome microarrays (41,000 unique probes). This is the first comparative genomic profiling of primary latently infected resting memory CD4+ T cells versus their uninfected counterparts sorted from the same culture. Microarray analyses performed in this study revealed profound differences between latently infected and uninfected cells. Of relevance are genes involved, not only in previously described pathways related with transcriptional and post-transcriptional regulation, but affecting proliferation, survival, cell cycle progression and cell metabolism. This could explain why latently infected cells have been resistant to reactivation with current anti-latency approaches. Thus, targeting of more downstream steps, such as the ones identified in this study, may be able to enhance viral flushing from refractory latent reservoirs. In addition, we identified a panel of surface makers differentially expressed in latently infected cells, which seem worth investigating for their potential use as biomarkers. Indeed, they might allow the enrichment of this latent reservoir for molecular in depth studies, for monitoring the size of the latent reservoir in the clinical setting, as well as for the development of new therapeutic strategies aimed at eradicating this reservoir.
Project description:Viral latency remains the most significant obstacle to HIV eradication. Clinical strategies aim to purge the latent CD4+ T cell reservoir by activating viral expression to induce death, but are undercut by the inability to target latently infected cells. Here we explored the acute signaling response of latent HIV-infected CD4+ T cells to identify dynamic phosphorylation signatures that could be targeted for therapy. Stimulation with CD3/CD28, PMA/ionomycin, or latency reversing agents prostratin and SAHA, yielded increased phosphorylation of I?B?, ERK, p38, and JNK in HIV-infected cells across two in vitro latency models. Both latent infection and viral protein expression contributed to changes in perturbation-induced signaling. Data-driven statistical models calculated from the phosphorylation signatures successfully classified infected and uninfected cells and further identified signals that were functionally important for regulating cell death. Specifically, the stress kinase pathways p38 and JNK were modified in latently infected cells, and activation of p38 and JNK signaling by anisomycin resulted in increased cell death independent of HIV reactivation. Our findings suggest that altered phosphorylation signatures in infected T cells provide a novel strategy to more selectively target the latent reservoir to enhance eradication efforts.
Project description:Despite significant advances in the treatment of human immunodeficiency virus type-1 (HIV) infection, antiretroviral therapy only suppresses viral replication but is unable to eliminate infection. Thus, discontinuation of antiretrovirals results in viral reactivation and disease progression. A major reservoir of HIV latent infection resides in resting central memory CD4+ T cells (TCM) that escape clearance by current therapeutic regimens and will require novel strategies for elimination. Here, we evaluated the therapeutic potential of autophagy-inducing peptides, Tat-Beclin 1 and Tat-vFLIP-α2, which can induce a novel Na+/K+-ATPase dependent form of cell death (autosis), to kill latently HIV-infected TCM while preventing virologic rebound. In this study, we encapsulated autophagy inducing peptides into biodegradable lipid-coated hybrid PLGA (poly lactic-co-glycolic acid) nanoparticles for controlled intracellular delivery. A single dose of nanopeptides was found to eliminate latent HIV infection in an in vitro primary model of HIV latency and ex vivo using resting CD4+ T cells obtained from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of HIV-infected patients on antiretroviral with fully suppressed virus for greater than 12 months. Notably, increased LC3B lipidation, SQSTM1/p62 degradation and Na+/K+-ATPase activity characteristic of autosis, were detected in nanopeptide treated latently HIV-infected cells compared to untreated uninfected or infected cells. Nanopeptide-induced cell death could be reversed by knockdown of autophagy proteins, ATG5 and ATG7, and inhibition or knockdown of Na+/K+-ATPase. Importantly, viral rebound was not detected following the induction of the Na+/K+-ATPase dependent form of cell death induced by the Tat-Beclin 1 and Tat-vFLIP-α2 nanopeptides. These findings provide a novel strategy to eradicate HIV latently infected resting memory CD4+ T cells, the major reservoir of HIV latency, through the induction of Na+/K+-ATPase dependent autophagy, while preventing reactivation of virus and new infection of uninfected bystander cells.
Project description:Antiretroviral therapy can effectively suppress HIV-1 infection but is ineffective against integrated proviruses. A latent viral reservoir composed of latently infected CD4(+)T cells persists under suppressive therapy, and infected individuals must remain indefinitely on antiretroviral therapy to prevent viral reactivation and propagation. Despite therapy, some degree of low-level ongoing replication is detected and transient viral reactivation may replenish the latent reservoir. An analog of the natural compound, Cortistatin A, blocks HIV-1 transcription by specifically targeting the viral transactivator, Tat. Treatment of latently infected cells with this Tat inhibitor promotes a state of deep-latency from which HIV reactivation capacity is greatly diminished. Here we discuss the use of Tat inhibitors to limit the latent reservoir to achieve a functional cure.
Project description:HIV-1 persists in a latent state in resting CD4(+) T lymphocytes of infected adults despite prolonged highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). To determine whether a latent reservoir for HIV-1 exists in infected children, we performed a quantitative viral culture assay on highly purified resting CD4(+) T cells from 21 children with perinatally acquired infection. Replication-competent HIV-1 was recovered from all 18 children from whom sufficient cells were obtained. The frequency of latently infected resting CD4(+) T cells directly correlated with plasma virus levels, suggesting that in children with ongoing viral replication, most latently infected cells are in the labile preintegration state of latency. However, in each of 7 children who had suppression of viral replication to undetectable levels for 1-3 years on HAART, latent replication-competent HIV-1 persisted with little decay, owing to a stable reservoir of infected cells in the postintegration stage of latency. Drug-resistance mutations generated by previous nonsuppressive regimens persisted in this compartment despite more than 1 year of fully suppressive HAART, rendering untenable the idea of recycling drugs that were part of failed regimens. Thus the latent reservoir for HIV-1 in resting CD4(+) T cells will be a major obstacle to HIV-1 eradication in children.
Project description:Quantifying latently infected cells is critical to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the size of the long-lived viral reservoir, but the low frequency of these cells makes this very challenging.We developed TILDA (Tat/rev Induced Limiting Dilution Assay) to measure the frequency of cells with inducible multiply-spliced HIV RNA, as these transcripts are usually absent in latently infected cells but induced upon viral reactivation. TILDA requires less than a million cells, does not require RNA extraction and can be completed in two days.In suppressed individuals on ART, we found the median frequency of latently infected CD4 + T cells as estimated by TILDA to be 24 cells/million, which was 48 times more than the frequency measured by the quantitative viral outgrowth assay, and 6-27 times less than the frequencies of cells harbouring viral DNA measured by PCR-based assays. TILDA measurements strongly correlated with most HIV DNA assays. The size of the latent reservoir measured by TILDA was lower in subjects who initiated ART during the early compared to late stage of infection (p = 0.011). In untreated HIV disease, the frequency of CD4 + cells carrying latent but inducible HIV largely exceeded the frequency of actively producing cells, demonstrating that the majority of infected cells are transcriptionally silent even in the absence of ART.Our results suggest that TILDA is a reproducible and sensitive approach to measure the frequency of productively and latently infected cells in clinical settings. We demonstrate that the latent reservoir represents a substantial fraction of all infected cells prior to ART initiation.In this manuscript, we describe the development of a novel assay that measures the magnitude of the latent HIV reservoir, the main barrier to HIV eradication. This novel assay, termed TILDA for Tat/rev Induced Limiting Dilution Assay, requires only 10 ml of blood, does not necessitate extraction of viral nucleic acids, is highly reproducible, covers a wide dynamic range of reservoir sizes and can be completed in two days. As such, TILDA may represent an alternative to existing assays used to evaluate the efficacy of therapeutic strategies aimed at reducing the size of the latent HIV reservoir.
Project description:The extreme stability of the latent HIV-1 reservoir in the CD4(+) memory T cell population prevents viral eradication with current antiretroviral therapy. It has been demonstrated that homeostatic T cell proliferation and clonal expansion of latently infected T cells due to viral integration into specific genes contribute to this extraordinary reservoir stability. Nevertheless, given the constant exposure of the memory T cell population to specific antigen or bystander activation, this reservoir stability seems remarkable, unless it is assumed that latent HIV-1 resides exclusively in memory T cells that recognize rare antigens. Another explanation for the stability of the reservoir could be that the latent HIV-1 reservoir is associated with an unresponsive T cell phenotype. We demonstrate here that host cells of latent HIV-1 infection events were functionally altered in ways that are consistent with the idea of an anergic, unresponsive T cell phenotype. Manipulations that induced or mimicked an anergic T cell state promoted latent HIV-1 infection. Kinome analysis data reflected this altered host cell phenotype at a system-wide level and revealed how the stable kinase activity changes networked to stabilize latent HIV-1 infection. Protein-protein interaction networks generated from kinome data could further be used to guide targeted genetic or pharmacological manipulations that alter the stability of latent HIV-1 infection. In summary, our data demonstrate that stable changes to the signal transduction and transcription factor network of latently HIV-1 infected host cells are essential to the ability of HIV-1 to establish and maintain latent HIV-1 infection status.The extreme stability of the latent HIV-1 reservoir allows the infection to persist for the lifetime of a patient, despite completely suppressive antiretroviral therapy. This extreme reservoir stability is somewhat surprising, since the latently HIV-1 infected CD4(+) memory T cells that form the structural basis of the viral reservoir should be exposed to cognate antigen over time. Antigen exposure would trigger a recall response and should deplete the reservoir, likely over a relatively short period. Our data demonstrate that stable and system-wide phenotypic changes to host cells are a prerequisite for the establishment and maintenance of latent HIV-1 infection events. The changes observed are consistent with an unresponsive, anergy-like T cell phenotype of latently HIV-1 infected host cells. An anergy-like, unresponsive state of the host cells of latent HIV-1 infection events would explain the stability of the HIV-1 reservoir in the face of continuous antigen exposure.
Project description:Antiretroviral therapy (ART) inhibits HIV-1 replication, but the virus persists in latently infected resting memory CD4(+) T cells susceptible to viral reactivation. The virus-encoded early gene product Tat activates transcription of the viral genome and promotes exponential viral production. Here we show that the Tat inhibitor didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA), unlike other antiretrovirals, reduces residual levels of viral transcription in several models of HIV latency, breaks the Tat-mediated transcriptional feedback loop, and establishes a nearly permanent state of latency, which greatly diminishes the capacity for virus reactivation. Importantly, treatment with dCA induces inactivation of viral transcription even after its removal, suggesting that the HIV promoter is epigenetically repressed. Critically, dCA inhibits viral reactivation upon CD3/CD28 or prostratin stimulation of latently infected CD4(+) T cells from HIV-infected subjects receiving suppressive ART. Our results suggest that inclusion of a Tat inhibitor in current ART regimens may contribute to a functional HIV-1 cure by reducing low-level viremia and preventing viral reactivation from latent reservoirs.Antiretroviral therapy (ART) reduces HIV-1 replication to very low levels, but the virus persists in latently infected memory CD4(+) T cells, representing a long-lasting source of resurgent virus upon ART interruption. Based on the mode of action of didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA), a Tat-dependent transcription inhibitor, our work highlights an alternative approach to current HIV-1 eradication strategies to decrease the latent reservoir. In our model, dCA blocks the Tat feedback loop initiated after low-level basal reactivation, blocking transcriptional elongation and hence viral production from latently infected cells. Therefore, dCA combined with ART would be aimed at delaying or halting ongoing viral replication, reactivation, and replenishment of the latent viral reservoir. Thus, the latent pool of cells in an infected individual would be stabilized, and death of the long-lived infected memory T cells would result in a continuous decay of this pool over time, possibly culminating in the long-awaited sterilizing cure.
Project description:Resting memory CD4(+) T cells are the largest reservoir of persistent infection in HIV-1-positive subjects. They harbor dormant, stably integrated virus despite suppressive antiretroviral therapy, posing an obstacle to a cure. Surface markers that identify latently infected cells remain unknown. Microarray analyses comparing resting latently infected and uninfected CD4(+) T cells generated in vitro showed profound differences in the expression of gene programs related to transcriptional and posttranscriptional regulation, cell proliferation, survival, cycle progression, and basic metabolism, suggesting that multiple biochemical and metabolic blocks contribute to preventing viral production in latently infected cells. We identified 33 transcripts encoding cell surface markers that are differentially expressed between latently infected and uninfected cells. Quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-QPCR) and flow cytometry analyses confirmed that the surface marker CD2 was expressed at higher levels on latently infected cells. To validate this result in vivo, we sorted resting memory CD4(+) T cells expressing high and low surface levels of CD2 from six HIV-1-infected subjects successfully treated with antiretroviral drugs for at least 3 years. Resting memory CD4(+) CD2(high) T cells from all subjects harbored higher HIV-1 DNA copy numbers than all other CD4(+) T cell subsets. Moreover, after ex vivo viral reactivation, robust viral RNA production was detected only from resting memory CD4(+) CD2(high) T cells but not from other cell subsets. Altogether, these results show that a high CD2 expression level is a hallmark of latently infected resting memory CD4(+) T cells in vivo.
Project description:Cells latently infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) evade immune- and drug-mediated clearance. These cells harbor intracellular signaling defects, including impairment of the antiviral type I interferon response. Such defects have also been observed in several cancers and have been exploited for the development of therapeutic oncolytic viruses, including the recombinant Maraba virus (MG1). We therefore hypothesized that MG1 would infect and eliminate cells latently infected with HIV-1, while sparing healthy uninfected cells. Preferential infection and elimination by MG1 was first demonstrated in cell lines latently infected with HIV-1. Following this, a reduction in HIV-1 DNA and inducible HIV-1 replication was observed following MG1 infection of latently infected, resting CD4+ T cells generated using an in vitro model of latency. Last, MG1 infection resulted in a reduction in HIV-1 DNA and inducible HIV-1 replication in memory CD4+ T cells isolated from effectively treated, HIV-1-infected individuals. Our results therefore highlight a novel approach to eliminate the latent HIV-1 reservoir.
Project description:HIV latency constitutes the main barrier for clearing HIV infection from patients. Our inability to recognize and isolate latently infected cells hinders the study of latent HIV. We engineered two HIV-based viral reporters expressing different fluorescent markers: one HIV promoter-dependent marker for productive HIV infection, and a second marker under a constitutive promoter independent of HIV promoter activity. Infection of cells with these viruses allows the identification and separation of latently infected cells from uninfected and productively infected cells. These reporters are sufficiently sensitive and robust for high-throughput screening to identify drugs that reactivate latent HIV. These reporters can be used in primary CD4 T lymphocytes and reveal a rare population of latently infected cells responsive to physiological stimuli. In summary, our HIV-1 reporters enable visualization and purification of latent-cell populations and open up new perspectives for studies of latent HIV infection.