Genetic Variability of Long Terminal Repeat Region between HIV-2 Groups Impacts Transcriptional Activity.
ABSTRACT: The HIV-2 long terminal repeat (LTR) region contains several transcription factor (TF) binding sites. Efficient LTR transactivation by cellular TF and viral proteins is crucial for HIV-2 reactivation and viral production. Proviral LTRs from 66 antiretroviral-naive HIV-2-infected patients included in the French ANRS HIV-2 CO5 Cohort were sequenced. High genetic variability within the HIV-2 LTR was observed, notably in the U3 subregion, the subregion encompassing most known TF binding sites. Genetic variability was significantly higher in HIV-2 group B than in group A viruses. Notably, all group B viruses lacked the peri-ETS binding site, and 4 group B sequences (11%) also presented a complete deletion of the first Sp1 binding site. The lack of a peri-ETS binding site was responsible for lower transcriptional activity in activated T lymphocytes, while deletion of the first Sp1 binding site lowered basal or Tat-mediated transcriptional activities, depending on the cell line. Interestingly, the HIV-2 cellular reservoir was less frequently quantifiable in patients infected by group B viruses and, when quantifiable, the reservoirs were significantly smaller than in patients infected by group A viruses. Our findings suggest that mutations observed in vivo in HIV-2 LTR sequences are associated with differences in transcriptional activity and may explain the small cellular reservoirs in patients infected by HIV-2 group B, providing new insight into the reduced pathogenicity of HIV-2 infection.IMPORTANCE Over 1 million patients are infected with HIV-2, which is often described as an attenuated retroviral infection. Patients frequently have undetectable viremia and evolve at more slowly toward AIDS than HIV-1-infected patients. Several studies have reported a smaller viral reservoir in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in HIV-2-infected patients than in HIV-1-infected patients, while others have found similar sizes of reservoirs but a reduced amount of cell-associated RNA, suggesting a block in HIV-2 transcription. Recent studies have found associations between mutations within the HIV-1 LTR and reduced transcriptional activities. Until now, mutations within the HIV-2 LTR region have scarcely been studied. We conducted this research to discover if such mutations exist in the HIV-2 LTR and their potential association with the viral reservoir and transcriptional activity. Our study indicates that transcription of HIV-2 group B proviruses may be impaired, which might explain the small viral reservoir observed in patients.
Project description:Cells latently infected with HIV represent a currently insurmountable barrier to viral eradication in infected patients. Using the J-Lat human T-cell model of HIV latency, we have investigated the role of host factor binding to the kappaB enhancer elements of the HIV long terminal repeat (LTR) in the maintenance of viral latency. We show that NF-kappaB p50-HDAC1 complexes constitutively bind the latent HIV LTR and induce histone deacetylation and repressive changes in chromatin structure of the HIV LTR, changes that impair recruitment of RNA polymerase II and transcriptional initiation. Knockdown of p50 expression with specific small hairpin RNAs reduces HDAC1 binding to the latent HIV LTR and induces RNA polymerase II recruitment. Similarly, inhibition of histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity with trichostatin A promotes binding of RNA polymerase II to the latent HIV LTR. This bound polymerase complex, however, remains non-processive, generating only short viral transcripts. Synthesis of full-length viral transcripts can be rescued under these conditions by expression of Tat. The combination of HDAC inhibitors and Tat merits consideration as a new strategy for purging latent HIV proviruses from their cellular reservoirs.
Project description:HIV-1 infected patients virally suppressed by antiviral treatment harbor a persistent reservoir of replication competent latent HIV-1 infected cells, which constitute the main roadblock to a cure. A main strategy for HIV cure aims to stimulate viral gene expression in latently infected cells so that they can be cleared. Crucial for the design of drugs referred to as “latency-reversing agents” (LRAs) is the identification of molecular targets for latency reversal. The regulatory factors physically associated with and repressing the latent HIV-1 promoter or 5’LTR would provide ideal putative molecular targets for latency reversal. However, due to technical limitations, the comprehensive and unbiased identification of host proteins associated with the latent or active integrated HIV LTR in infected cells not been possible. Here we use dCas9 targeted chromatin and histone enrichment strategy coupled to mass spectrometry (Catchet-MS), to purify the locus-associated dCas9 bait, guided downstream of the HIV-1 transcriptional start site (TSS) in latent and activated HIV-1 infected T cells to identify the 5’LTR bound latent and active regulatory complexes. Catchet-MS identified both previously described as well as novel host factors distinctly associated with the latent versus transcriptionally active HIV-1 5’LTR. Within the identified factors we find the transcription factor IKZF1 to be a novel repressor of the HIV-1 promoter required for maintenance of latency, and thus a molecular target for latency reversal. Finally, we identify the FDA approved drug, Iberdomide, which targets IKZF1 for degradation to be a novel LRA, which reversed latency in latent ex vivo HIV-1 infected primary CD4+ T cells and in cells isolated from HIV-1 infected, aviremic participants.
Project description:Multiple studies have shown that HIV-1 patients may develop virus reservoirs that impede eradication; these reservoirs include the central nervous system (CNS). Despite an undetectable viral load in patients treated with potent antiretrovirals, current therapy is unable to purge the virus from these latent reservoirs. To broaden the inhibitory range and effectiveness of current antiretrovirals, the potential of bryostatin was investigated as a latent HIV-1 activator. We used primary astrocytes, NHA cells, and astrocytoma cells U-87. Infected cells with HIV-1(NL4.3) were treated with bryostatin alone or in combination with different inhibitors. HIV-1 production was quantified by using ELISA. Transcriptional activity was measured using luciferase reporter gene assays by using lipofectin. We performed cotransfection experiments of the LTR promoter with the active NF-?B member p65/relA. To confirm the NF-?B role, Western blot and confocal microscopy were performed. Bryostatin reactivates latent viral infection in the NHA and U87 cells via activation of protein kinase C (PKC)-alpha and -delta, because the PKC inhibitors rottlerin and GF109203X abrogated the bryostatin effect. No alteration in cell proliferation was found. Moreover, bryostatin strongly stimulated LTR transcription by activating the transcription factor NF-?B. Bryostatin could be a beneficial adjunct to the treatment of HIV-1 brain infection.
Project description:Eradication of the latent HIV reservoir remains a major barrier to curing AIDS. However, the mechanisms that direct viral persistence in the host are not well understood. Studying a model system of postintegration latency, we found that viral integration into the actively transcribed host genes led to transcriptional interference (TI) caused by the elongating RNA polymerase II (RNAPII) transcribing through the viral promoter. The resulting physical exclusion of preinitiation complex formation on the 5' long terminal repeat (LTR) promoted the silencing of HIV transcription. This block could be counteracted by inhibiting the upstream transcription or cooperatively activating viral transcription initiation and elongation. Importantly, PCR-based analysis, which detects host transcription through the 5'LTR independently of the viral integration site, revealed substantial levels of this transcription in HIV-infected primary CD4(+) T cells. Collectively, our findings suggest that TI contributes significantly to HIV latency and should be considered when attempting to purge the latent reservoir.
Project description:DNA methylation of retroviral promoters and enhancers localized in the provirus 5' long terminal repeat (LTR) is considered to be a mechanism of transcriptional suppression that allows retroviruses to evade host immune responses and antiretroviral drugs. However, the role of DNA methylation in the control of HIV-1 latency has never been unambiguously demonstrated, in contrast to the apparent importance of transcriptional interference and chromatin structure, and has never been studied in HIV-1-infected patients. Here, we show in an in vitro model of reactivable latency and in a latent reservoir of HIV-1-infected patients that CpG methylation of the HIV-1 5' LTR is an additional epigenetic restriction mechanism, which controls resistance of latent HIV-1 to reactivation signals and thus determines the stability of the HIV-1 latency. CpG methylation acts as a late event during establishment of HIV-1 latency and is not required for the initial provirus silencing. Indeed, the latent reservoir of some aviremic patients contained high proportions of the non-methylated 5' LTR. The latency controlled solely by transcriptional interference and by chromatin-dependent mechanisms in the absence of significant promoter DNA methylation tends to be leaky and easily reactivable. In the latent reservoir of HIV-1-infected individuals without detectable plasma viremia, we found HIV-1 promoters and enhancers to be hypermethylated and resistant to reactivation, as opposed to the hypomethylated 5' LTR in viremic patients. However, even dense methylation of the HIV-1 5'LTR did not confer complete resistance to reactivation of latent HIV-1 with some histone deacetylase inhibitors, protein kinase C agonists, TNF-alpha, and their combinations with 5-aza-2deoxycytidine: the densely methylated HIV-1 promoter was most efficiently reactivated in virtual absence of T cell activation by suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid. Tight but incomplete control of HIV-1 latency by CpG methylation might have important implications for strategies aimed at eradicating HIV-1 infection.
Project description:The persistence of transcriptionally silent but replication-competent HIV-1 reservoirs in Highly Active Anti-Retroviral Therapy (HAART)-treated infected individuals, represents a major hurdle to virus eradication. Activation of HIV-1 gene expression in these cells together with an efficient HAART has been proposed as an adjuvant therapy aimed at decreasing the pool of latent viral reservoirs. Using the latently-infected U1 monocytic cell line and latently-infected J-Lat T-cell clones, we here demonstrated a strong synergistic activation of HIV-1 production by clinically used histone deacetylase inhibitors (HDACIs) combined with prostratin, a non-tumor-promoting nuclear factor (NF)- kappaB inducer. In J-Lat cells, we showed that this synergism was due, at least partially, to the synergistic recruitment of unresponsive cells into the expressing cell population. A combination of prostratin+HDACI synergistically activated the 5' Long Terminal Repeat (5'LTR) from HIV-1 Major group subtypes representing the most prevalent viral genetic forms, as shown by transient transfection reporter assays. Mechanistically, HDACIs increased prostratin-induced DNA-binding activity of nuclear NF-kappaB and degradation of cytoplasmic NF-kappaB inhibitor, IkappaBalpha . Moreover, the combined treatment prostratin+HDACI caused a more pronounced nucleosomal remodeling in the U1 viral promoter region than the treatments with the compounds alone. This more pronounced remodeling correlated with a synergistic reactivation of HIV-1 transcription following the combined treatment prostratin+HDACI, as demonstrated by measuring recruitment of RNA polymerase II to the 5'LTR and both initiated and elongated transcripts. The physiological relevance of the prostratin+HDACI synergism was shown in CD8(+)-depleted peripheral blood mononuclear cells from HAART-treated patients with undetectable viral load. Moreover, this combined treatment reactivated viral replication in resting CD4(+) T cells isolated from similar patients. Our results suggest that combinations of different kinds of proviral activators may have important implications for reducing the size of latent HIV-1 reservoirs in HAART-treated patients.
Project description:CRISPR/Cas9 technology is currently considered the most advanced tool for targeted genome engineering. Its sequence-dependent specificity has been explored for locus-directed transcriptional modulation. Such modulation, in particular transcriptional activation, has been proposed as key approach to overcome silencing of dormant HIV provirus in latently infected cellular reservoirs. Currently available agents for provirus activation, so-called latency reversing agents (LRAs), act indirectly through cellular pathways to induce viral transcription. However, their clinical performance remains suboptimal, possibly because reservoirs have diverse cellular identities and/or proviral DNA is intractable to the induced pathways. We have explored two CRISPR/Cas9-derived activator systems as targeted approaches to induce dormant HIV-1 proviral DNA. These systems recruit multiple transcriptional activation domains to the HIV 5' long terminal repeat (LTR), for which we have identified an optimal target region within the LTR U3 sequence. Using this target region, we demonstrate transcriptional activation of proviral genomes via the synergistic activation mediator complex in various in culture model systems for HIV latency. Observed levels of induction are comparable or indeed higher than treatment with established LRAs. Importantly, activation is complete, leading to production of infective viral particles. Our data demonstrate that CRISPR/Cas9-derived technologies can be applied to counteract HIV latency and may therefore represent promising novel approaches in the quest for HIV elimination.
Project description:Combination antiretroviral therapy (ART) is able to suppress HIV-1 replication to undetectable levels. However, the persistence of latent viral reservoirs allows for a rebound of viral load upon cessation of therapy. Thus, therapeutic strategies to eradicate the viral latent reservoir are critically needed. Employing a targeted RNAi screen, we identified the ubiquitin ligase BIRC2 (cIAP1), a repressor of the noncanonical NF-?B pathway, as a potent negative regulator of LTR-dependent HIV-1 transcription. Depletion of BIRC2 through treatment with small molecule antagonists known as Smac mimetics enhanced HIV-1 transcription, leading to a reversal of latency in a JLat latency model system. Critically, treatment of resting CD4+ T cells isolated from ART-suppressed patients with the histone deacetylase inhibitor (HDACi) panobinostat together with Smac mimetics resulted in synergistic activation of the latent reservoir. These data implicate Smac mimetics as useful agents for shock-and-kill strategies to eliminate the latent HIV reservoir.
Project description:Antiretroviral therapy (ART) suppresses HIV replication, but does not cure the infection because replication-competent virus persists within latently infected CD4+ T cells throughout years of therapy. These reservoirs contain integrated HIV-1 genomes and can resupply active virus. Thus, the development of strategies to eliminate the reservoir of latently infected cells is a research priority of global significance. In this study, we tested efficacy of a new inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonist (IAPa) called Debio 1143 at reversing HIV latency and investigated its mechanisms of action. Debio 1143 activates HIV transcription via NF-kB signaling by degrading the ubiquitin ligase baculoviral IAP repeat-containing 2 (BIRC2), a repressor of the non-canonical NF-kB pathway. Debio 1143-induced BIRC2 degradation results in the accumulation of NF-κB-inducing kinase (NIK) and proteolytic cleavage of p100 into p52, leading to nuclear translocation of p52 and RELB. Debio 1143 greatly enhances the binding of RELB to the HIV-1 LTR. These data indicate that Debio 1143 activates the non-canonical NF-kB signaling pathway by promoting the binding of RELB:p52 complexes to the HIV-1 LTR, resulting in the activation of the LTR-dependent HIV-1 transcription. Importantly, Debio 1143 reverses viral latency in HIV-1 latent T cell lines. Using knockdown (siRNA BIRC2), knockout (CRIPSR NIK) and proteasome machinery neutralization (MG132) approaches, we found that Debio 1143-mediated HIV latency reversal is BIRC2 degradation- and NIK stabilization-dependent. Debio 1143 also reverses HIV-1 latency in resting CD4+ T cells derived from ART-treated patients or HIV-1-infected humanized mice under ART. Interestingly, daily oral administration of Debio 1143 in cancer patients at well-tolerated doses elicited BIRC2 target engagement in PBMCs and induced a moderate increase in cytokines and chemokines mechanistically related to NF-kB signaling. In conclusion, we provide strong evidences that the IAPa Debio 1143, by initially activating the non-canonical NF-kB signaling and subsequently reactivating HIV-1 transcription, represents a new attractive viral latency reversal agent (LRA).
Project description:Combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) generally suppresses the replication of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) but does not cure the infection, because proviruses persist in stable latent reservoirs. It has been proposed that low-level proviral reservoirs might predict longer virologic control after discontinuation of treatment. Our objective was to evaluate the impact of very early initiation of cART and temporary treatment interruption on the size of the latent HIV-1 reservoir in vertically infected children.This retrospective study included 23 perinatally HIV-1-infected children who initiated very early treatment within 12 weeks after birth (n = 14), or early treatment between week 12 and 1 year (n = 9). We measured the proviral reservoir (CD4(+) T-cell-associated HIV-1 DNA) in blood samples collected beyond the first year of sustained virologic suppression.There is a strong positive correlation between the time to initiation of cART and the size of the proviral reservoir. Children who initiated cART within the first 12 weeks of life showed a proviral reservoir 6-fold smaller than children initiating cART beyond this time (P < .01). Rapid virologic control after initiation of cART also limits the size of the viral reservoir. However, patients who underwent transient treatment interruptions showed a dramatic increase in the size of the viral reservoir after discontinuation.Initiation of cART during the first 12 weeks of life in perinatally HIV-1-infected children limits the size of the viral reservoir. Treatment interruptions should be undertaken with caution, as they might lead to fast and irreversible replenishment of the viral reservoir.