Predicting the outcomes of treatment to eradicate the latent reservoir for HIV-1.
ABSTRACT: Massive research efforts are now underway to develop a cure for HIV infection, allowing patients to discontinue lifelong combination antiretroviral therapy (ART). New latency-reversing agents (LRAs) may be able to purge the persistent reservoir of latent virus in resting memory CD4(+) T cells, but the degree of reservoir reduction needed for cure remains unknown. Here we use a stochastic model of infection dynamics to estimate the efficacy of LRA needed to prevent viral rebound after ART interruption. We incorporate clinical data to estimate population-level parameter distributions and outcomes. Our findings suggest that ?2,000-fold reductions are required to permit a majority of patients to interrupt ART for 1 y without rebound and that rebound may occur suddenly after multiple years. Greater than 10,000-fold reductions may be required to prevent rebound altogether. Our results predict large variation in rebound times following LRA therapy, which will complicate clinical management. This model provides benchmarks for moving LRAs from the laboratory to the clinic and can aid in the design and interpretation of clinical trials. These results also apply to other interventions to reduce the latent reservoir and can explain the observed return of viremia after months of apparent cure in recent bone marrow transplant recipients and an immediately-treated neonate.
Project description:The 'shock and kill' approach to cure human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) includes transcriptional induction of latent HIV-1 proviruses using latency-reversing agents (LRAs) with targeted immunotherapy to purge infected cells. The administration of LRAs (panobinostat or vorinostat) to HIV-1-infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy induces a significant increase in cell-associated unspliced (CA-US) HIV-1 RNA from CD4(+) T cells. However, it is important to discern whether the increases in CA-US HIV-1 RNA are due to limited or broad activation of HIV-1 proviruses. Here we use single-genome sequencing to find that the RNA transcripts observed following LRA administration are genetically diverse, indicating activation of transcription from an extensive range of proviruses. Defective sequences are more frequently found in CA HIV-1 RNA than in HIV-1 DNA, which has implications for developing an accurate measure of HIV-1 reservoir size. Our findings provide insights into the effects of panobinostat and vorinostat as LRAs for latent HIV-1.
Project description:The so-called shock and kill therapies aim to combine HIV-1 reactivation by latency-reversing agents (LRA) with immune clearance to purge the HIV-1 reservoir. The clinical use of LRA has demonstrated detectable perturbations in the HIV-1 reservoir without measurable reductions to date. Consequently, fundamental questions concerning the limitations of the recognition and killing of LRA-reactivated cells by effector cells such as CD8+ T cells remain to be answered. Here, we developed a novel experimental framework where we combine the use of cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell lines and ex vivo CD8+ T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals with functional assays of LRA-inducible reactivation to delineate immune barriers to clear the reservoir. Our results demonstrate the potential for early recognition and killing of reactivated cells by CD8+ T cells. However, the potency of LRAs when crossing the barrier for antigen presentation in target cells, together with the lack of expression of inhibitory receptors in CD8+ T cells, are critical events to maximize the speed of recognition and the magnitude of the killing of LRA-inducible provirus. Taken together, our findings highlight direct limitations in LRA potency and CD8+ T cell functional status to succeed in the cure of HIV-1 infection.
Project description:The elimination of both cellular and tissue latent reservoirs is a challenge toward a successful HIV cure. "Shock and Kill" are among the therapeutic strategies that have been more extensively studied to target these reservoirs. These strategies are aimed toward the reactivation of the latent reservoir using a latency-reversal agent (LRA) with the subsequent killing of the reactivated cell either by the cytotoxic arm of the immune system, including NK and CD8 T cells, or by viral cytopathic mechanisms. Numerous LRAs are currently being investigated in vitro, ex vivo as well as in vivo for their ability to reactivate and reduce latent reservoirs. Among those, several toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists have been shown to reactivate latent HIV. In humans, there are 10 TLRs that recognize different pathogen-associated molecular patterns. TLRs are present in several cell types, including CD4 T cells, the cell compartment that harbors the majority of the latent reservoir. Besides their ability to reactivate latent HIV, TLR agonists also increase immune activation and promote an antiviral response. These combined properties make TLR agonists unique among the different LRAs characterized to date. Additionally, some of these agonists have shown promise toward finding an HIV cure in animal models. When in combination with broadly neutralizing antibodies, TLR-7 agonists have shown to impact the SIV latent reservoir and delay viral rebound. Moreover, there are FDA-approved TLR agonists that are currently being investigated for cancer therapy and other diseases. All these has prompted clinical trials using TLR agonists either alone or in combination toward HIV eradication approaches. In this review, we provide an extensive characterization of the state-of-the-art of the use of TLR agonists toward HIV eradication strategies and the mechanism behind how TLR agonists target both cellular and tissue HIV reservoirs.
Project description:Antiretroviral therapy (ART) suppresses HIV-1 replication but fails to cure the infection. The presence of an extremely stable viral latent reservoir, primarily in resting memory CD4+ T cells, remains a major obstacle to viral eradication. The "shock and kill" strategy targets these latently infected cells and boosts immune recognition and clearance, and thus, it is a promising approach for an HIV-1 functional cure. Although some latency-reversing agents (LRAs) have been reported, no apparent clinical progress has been made, so it is still vital to seek novel and effective LRAs. Here, we report that thiostrepton (TSR), a proteasome inhibitor, reactivates latent HIV-1 effectively in cellular models and in primary CD4+ T cells from ART-suppressed individuals ex vivo TSR does not induce global T cell activation, severe cytotoxicity, or CD8+ T cell dysfunction, making it a prospective LRA candidate. We also observed a significant synergistic effect of reactivation when TSR was combined with JQ1, prostratin, or bryostatin-1. Interestingly, six TSR analogues also show reactivation abilities that are similar to or more effective than that of TSR. We further verified that TSR upregulated expression of heat shock proteins (HSPs) in CD4+ T cells, which subsequently activated positive transcriptional elongation factor b (p-TEFb) and NF-?B signals, leading to viral reactivation. In summary, we identify TSR as a novel LRA which could have important significance for applications to an HIV-1 functional cure in the future.
Project description:One of the most explored therapeutic approaches aimed at eradicating HIV-1 reservoirs is the "shock and kill" strategy which is based on HIV-1 reactivation in latently-infected cells ("shock" phase) while maintaining antiretroviral therapy (ART) in order to prevent spreading of the infection by the neosynthesized virus. This kind of strategy allows for the "kill" phase, during which latently-infected cells die from viral cytopathic effects or from host cytolytic effector mechanisms following viral reactivation. Several latency reversing agents (LRAs) with distinct mechanistic classes have been characterized to reactivate HIV-1 viral gene expression. Some LRAs have been tested in terms of their potential to purge latent HIV-1 in vivo in clinical trials, showing that reversing HIV-1 latency is possible. However, LRAs alone have failed to reduce the size of the viral reservoirs. Together with the inability of the immune system to clear the LRA-activated reservoirs and the lack of specificity of these LRAs, the heterogeneity of the reservoirs largely contributes to the limited success of clinical trials using LRAs. Indeed, HIV-1 latency is established in numerous cell types that are characterized by distinct phenotypes and metabolic properties, and these are influenced by patient history. Hence, the silencing mechanisms of HIV-1 gene expression in these cellular and tissue reservoirs need to be better understood to rationally improve this cure strategy and hopefully reach clinical success.
Project description:The development of effective yet nontoxic strategies to target the latent human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) reservoir in antiretroviral therapy (ART)-suppressed individuals poses a critical barrier to a functional cure. The 'kick and kill' approach to HIV eradication entails proviral reactivation during ART, coupled with generation of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) or other immune effectors equipped to eliminate exposed infected cells. Pharmacological latency reversal agents (LRAs) that have produced modest reductions in the latent reservoir ex vivo have not impacted levels of proviral DNA in HIV-infected individuals. An optimal cure strategy incorporates methods that facilitate sufficient antigen exposure on reactivated cells following the induction of proviral gene expression, as well as the elimination of infected targets by either polyfunctional HIV-specific CTLs or other immune-based strategies. Although conventional dendritic cells (DCs) have been used extensively for the purpose of inducing antigen-specific CTL responses in HIV-1 clinical trials, their immunotherapeutic potential as cellular LRAs has been largely ignored. In this review, we discuss the challenges associated with current HIV-1 eradication strategies, as well as the unharnessed potential of ex vivo-programmed DCs for both the 'kick and kill' of latent HIV-1.
Project description:A proposed strategy to cure HIV uses latency-reversing agents (LRAs) to reactivate latent proviruses for purging HIV reservoirs. A variety of LRAs have been identified, but none has yet proven effective in reducing the reservoir size in vivo. Nanocarriers could address some major challenges by improving drug solubility and safety, providing sustained drug release, and simultaneously delivering multiple drugs to target tissues and cells. Here, we formulated hybrid nanocarriers that incorporate physicochemically diverse LRAs and target lymphatic CD4+ T cells. We identified one LRA combination that displayed synergistic latency reversal and low cytotoxicity in a cell model of HIV and in CD4+ T cells from virologically suppressed patients. Furthermore, our targeted nanocarriers selectively activated CD4+ T cells in nonhuman primate peripheral blood mononuclear cells as well as in murine lymph nodes, and substantially reduced local toxicity. This nanocarrier platform may enable new solutions for delivering anti-HIV agents for an HIV cure.
Project description:The HIV reservoir remains to be a difficult barrier to overcome in order to achieve a therapeutic cure for HIV. Several strategies have been developed to purge the reservoir, including the "kick and kill" approach, which is based on the notion that reactivating the latent reservoir will allow subsequent elimination by the host anti-HIV immune cells. However, clinical trials testing certain classes of latency reactivating agents (LRAs) have so far revealed the minimal impact on reducing the viral reservoir. A robust immune response to reactivated HIV expressing cells is critical for this strategy to work. A current focus to enhance anti-HIV immunity is through the use of chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Currently, HIV-specific CARs are being applied to peripheral T cells, NK cells, and stem cells to boost recognition and killing of HIV infected cells. In this review, we summarize current developments in engineering HIV directed CAR-expressing cells to facilitate HIV elimination. We also summarize current LRAs that enhance the "kick" strategy and how new generation and combinations of LRAs with HIV specific CAR T cell therapies could provide an optimal strategy to target the viral reservoir and achieve HIV clearance from the body.
Project description:HIV eradication studies have focused on developing latency-reversing agents (LRAs). However, it is not understood how the rate of latent reservoir reduction is affected by different steps in the process of latency reversal. Furthermore, as current LRAs are host-directed, LRA treatment is likely to be intermittent to avoid host toxicities. Few careful studies of the serial effects of pulsatile LRA treatment have yet been done. This lack of clarity makes it difficult to evaluate the efficacy of candidate LRAs or predict long-term treatment outcomes. We constructed a mathematical model that describes the dynamics of latently infected cells under LRA treatment. Model analysis showed that, in addition to increasing the immune recognition and clearance of infected cells, the duration of HIV antigen expression (i.e., the period of vulnerability) plays an important role in determining the efficacy of LRAs, especially if effective clearance is achieved. Patients may benefit from pulsatile LRA exposures compared with continuous LRA exposures if the period of vulnerability is long and the clearance rate is high, both in the presence and absence of an LRA. Overall, the model framework serves as a useful tool to evaluate the efficacy and the rational design of LRAs and combination strategies.
Project description:Identifying the source and dynamics of persistent HIV-1 at single-cell resolution during cART is crucial for the design of strategies to eliminate the latent HIV-1 reservoir. An assay to measure latent HIV-1 that can distinguish inducible from defective proviruses with high precision is essential to evaluate the efficacy of HIV-1 cure efforts but is presently lacking. The primary aim of this study was therefore to identify transcription and translation competent latently infected cells through detection of biomolecules that are dependent on transcriptional activation of the provirus. We investigated the applicability of two commercially available assays; PrimeFlowTM RNA Assay (RNAflow) and RNAscope® ISH (RNAscope) for evaluation of the efficacy of latency reversal agents (LRAs) to reactivate the HIV-1 latent reservoir. The J-Lat cell model (clones 6.3, 9.3, and 10.6) and four LRAs was used to evaluate the sensitivity, specificity, and lower detection limit of the RNAflow and RNAscope assays for the detection and description of the translation-competent HIV-1 reservoir. We also checked for HIV-1 subtype specificity of the RNAscope assay using patient-derived subtype A1, B, C, and CRF01_AE recombinant plasmids following transfection in 293T cells and the applicability of the method in patient-derived peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs). The lower detection limit of RNAflow was 575 HIV-1 infected cells/million and 45 cells/million for RNAscope. The RNAscope probes, designed for HIV-1B, also detected other subtypes (A1, B, C, and CRF01_AE). RNAscope was applicable for the detection of HIV-1 in patient-derived PBMCs following LRA activation. In conclusion, our study showed that RNAscope can be used to quantify the number of directly observed individual cells expressing HIV-1 mRNA following LRA activation. Therefore, it can be a useful tool for characterization of translation-competent HIV-1 in latently infected cell at single-cell resolution in the fields of HIV-1 pathogenesis and viral persistence.