Eradication of HIV-1 (HIV) is hindered by stable viral reservoirs. Viral latency is epigenetically regulated. While the effects of histone acetylation and methylation at the HIV long-terminal repeat (LTR) have been described, our knowledge of the proviral epigenetic landscape is incomplete. We report that a previously unrecognized epigenetic modification of the HIV LTR, histone crotonylation, is a regulator of HIV latency. Reactivation of latent HIV was achieved following the induction of histone crotonylation through increased expression of the crotonyl-CoA–producing enzyme acyl-CoA synthetase short-chain family member 2 (ACSS2). This reprogrammed the local chromatin at the HIV LTR through increased histone acetylation and reduced histone methylation. Pharmacologic inhibition or siRNA knockdown of ACSS2 diminished histone crotonylation–induced HIV replication and reactivation. ACSS2 induction was highly synergistic in combination with either a protein kinase C agonist (PEP005) or a histone deacetylase inhibitor (vorinostat) in reactivating latent HIV. In the SIV-infected nonhuman primate model of AIDS, the expression of ACSS2 was significantly induced in intestinal mucosa in vivo, which correlated with altered fatty acid metabolism. Our study links the HIV/SIV infection–induced fatty acid enzyme ACSS2 to HIV latency and identifies histone lysine crotonylation as a novel epigenetic regulator for HIV transcription that can be targeted for HIV eradication.
Guochun Jiang, Don Nguyen, Nancie M. Archin, Steven A. Yukl, Gema Méndez-Lagares, Yuyang Tang, Maher M. Elsheikh, George R. Thompson III, Dennis J. Hartigan-O’Connor, David M. Margolis, Joseph K. Wong, Satya Dandekar
The presence of persistent, latent HIV reservoirs in CD4+ T cells obstructs current efforts to cure infection. The so-called kick-and-kill paradigm proposes to purge these reservoirs by combining latency-reversing agents with immune effectors such as cytotoxic T lymphocytes. Support for this approach is largely based on success in latency models, which do not fully reflect the makeup of latent reservoirs in individuals on long-term antiretroviral therapy (ART). Recent studies have shown that CD8+ T cells have the potential to recognize defective proviruses, which comprise the vast majority of all infected cells, and that the proviral landscape can be shaped over time due to in vivo clonal expansion of infected CD4+ T cells. Here, we have shown that treating CD4+ T cells from ART-treated individuals with combinations of potent latency-reversing agents and autologous CD8+ T cells consistently reduced cell-associated HIV DNA, but failed to deplete replication-competent virus. These CD8+ T cells recognized and potently eliminated CD4+ T cells that were newly infected with autologous reservoir virus, ruling out a role for both immune escape and CD8+ T cell dysfunction. Thus, our results suggest that cells harboring replication-competent HIV possess an inherent resistance to CD8+ T cells that may need to be addressed to cure infection.
Szu-Han Huang, Yanqin Ren, Allison S. Thomas, Dora Chan, Stefanie Mueller, Adam R. Ward, Shabnum Patel, Catherine M. Bollard, Conrad Russell Cruz, Sara Karandish, Ronald Truong, Amanda B. Macedo, Alberto Bosque, Colin Kovacs, Erika Benko, Alicja Piechocka-Trocha, Hing Wong, Emily Jeng, Douglas F. Nixon, Ya-Chi Ho, Robert F. Siliciano, Bruce D. Walker, R. Brad Jones
Type I IFN production is essential for innate control of acute viral infection; however, prolonged high-level IFN production is associated with chronic immune activation in HIV-infected individuals. Although plasmacytoid DCs (pDCs) are a primary source of IFN, the mechanisms that regulate IFN levels following the acute phase are unknown. We hypothesized that HIV-specific Ab responses regulate late IFN production. We evaluated the mechanism through which HIV-activated pDCs produce IFN as well as how both monoclonal HIV-specific Abs and Abs produced in natural HIV infection modulated normal pDC sensing of HIV. We found that HIV-induced IFN production required TLR7 signaling, receptor-mediated entry, fusion, and viral uncoating, but not endocytosis or HIV life cycle stages after uncoating. Abs directed against the HIV envelope that do not interfere with CD4 binding markedly enhanced the IFN response, irrespective of their ability to neutralize CD4+ T cell infection. Ab-mediated enhancement of IFN production required Fc γ receptor engagement, bypassed fusion, and initiated signaling through both TLR7 and TLR9, which was not utilized in the absence of Ab. Polyclonal Abs isolated from HIV-infected subjects also enhanced pDC production of IFN in response to HIV. Our data provide an explanation for high levels of IFN production and immune activation in chronic HIV infection.
Rebecca T. Veenhuis, Zachary T. Freeman, Jack Korleski, Laura K. Cohen, Guido Massaccesi, Alessandra Tomasi, Austin W. Boesch, Margaret E. Ackerman, Joseph B. Margolick, Joel N. Blankson, Michael A. Chattergoon, Andrea L. Cox
It remains controversial whether current antiretroviral therapy (ART) fully suppresses the cycles of HIV replication and viral evolution in vivo. If replication persists in sanctuary sites such as the lymph nodes, a high priority should be placed on improving ART regimes to target these sites. To investigate the question of ongoing viral replication on current ART regimens, we analyzed HIV populations in longitudinal samples from 10 HIV-1–infected children who initiated ART when viral diversity was low. Eight children started ART at less than ten months of age and showed suppression of plasma viremia for seven to nine years. Two children had uncontrolled viremia for fifteen and thirty months, respectively, before viremia suppression, and served as positive controls for HIV replication and evolution. These latter 2 children showed clear evidence of virus evolution, whereas multiple methods of analysis bore no evidence of virus evolution in any of the 8 children with viremia suppression on ART. Phylogenetic trees simulated with the recently reported evolutionary rate of HIV-1 on ART of 6 × 10–4 substitutions/site/month bore no resemblance to the observed data. Taken together, these data refute the concept that ongoing HIV replication is common with ART and is the major barrier to curing HIV-1 infection.
Gert U. Van Zyl, Mary Grace Katusiime, Ann Wiegand, William R. McManus, Michael J. Bale, Elias K. Halvas, Brian Luke, Valerie F. Boltz, Jonathan Spindler, Barbara Laughton, Susan Engelbrecht, John M. Coffin, Mark F. Cotton, Wei Shao, John W. Mellors, Mary F. Kearney
BACKGROUND. The histone deacetylase (HDAC) inhibitor vorinostat (VOR) can increase HIV RNA expression in vivo within resting CD4+ T cells of aviremic HIV+ individuals. However, while studies of VOR or other HDAC inhibitors have reported reversal of latency, none has demonstrated clearance of latent infection. We sought to identify the optimal dosing of VOR for effective serial reversal of HIV latency. METHODS. In a study of 16 HIV-infected, aviremic individuals, we measured resting CD4+ T cell–associated HIV RNA ex vivo and in vivo following a single exposure to VOR, and then in vivo after a pair of doses separated by 48 or 72 hours, and finally following a series of 10 doses given at 72-hour intervals. RESULTS. Serial VOR exposures separated by 72 hours most often resulted in an increase in cell-associated HIV RNA within circulating resting CD4+ T cells. VOR was well tolerated by all participants. However, despite serial reversal of latency over 1 month of VOR dosing, we did not observe a measurable decrease (>0.3 log10) in the frequency of latent infection within resting CD4+ T cells. CONCLUSIONS. These findings outline parameters for the experimental use of VOR to clear latent infection. Latency reversal can be achieved by VOR safely and repeatedly, but effective depletion of persistent HIV infection will require additional advances. In addition to improvements in latency reversal, these advances may include the sustained induction of potent antiviral immune responses capable of recognizing and clearing the rare cells in which HIV latency has been reversed. TRIAL REGISTRATION. Clinicaltrials.gov NCT01319383. FUNDING. NIH grants U01 AI095052, AI50410, and P30 CA016086 and National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences grant KL2 TR001109.
Nancie M. Archin, Jennifer L. Kirchherr, Julia A.M. Sung, Genevieve Clutton, Katherine Sholtis, Yinyan Xu, Brigitte Allard, Erin Stuelke, Angela D. Kashuba, Joann D. Kuruc, Joseph Eron, Cynthia L. Gay, Nilu Goonetilleke, David M. Margolis
HIV-1 causes a chronic, incurable disease due to its persistence in CD4+ T cells that contain replication-competent provirus, but exhibit little or no active viral gene expression and effectively resist combination antiretroviral therapy (cART). These latently infected T cells represent an extremely small proportion of all circulating CD4+ T cells but possess a remarkable long-term stability and typically persist throughout life, for reasons that are not fully understood. Here we performed massive single-genome, near-full-length next-generation sequencing of HIV-1 DNA derived from unfractionated peripheral blood mononuclear cells, ex vivo-isolated CD4+ T cells, and subsets of functionally polarized memory CD4+ T cells. This approach identified multiple sets of independent, near-full-length proviral sequences from cART-treated individuals that were completely identical, consistent with clonal expansion of CD4+ T cells harboring intact HIV-1. Intact, near-full-genome HIV-1 DNA sequences that were derived from such clonally expanded CD4+ T cells constituted 62% of all analyzed genome-intact sequences in memory CD4 T cells, were preferentially observed in Th1-polarized cells, were longitudinally detected over a duration of up to 5 years, and were fully replication- and infection-competent. Together, these data suggest that clonal proliferation of Th1-polarized CD4+ T cells encoding for intact HIV-1 represents a driving force for stabilizing the pool of latently infected CD4+ T cells.
Guinevere Q. Lee, Nina Orlova-Fink, Kevin Einkauf, Fatema Z. Chowdhury, Xiaoming Sun, Sean Harrington, Hsiao-Hsuan Kuo, Stephane Hua, Hsiao-Rong Chen, Zhengyu Ouyang, Kavidha Reddy, Krista Dong, Thumbi Ndung’u, Bruce D. Walker, Eric S. Rosenberg, Xu G. Yu, Mathias Lichterfeld
Long-acting anti-HIV products can substantively change the standard of care for patients with HIV/AIDS. To this end, hydrophobic antiretroviral drugs (ARVs) were recently developed for parenteral administration at monthly or longer intervals. While shorter-acting hydrophilic drugs can be made into nanocarrier-encased prodrugs, the nanocarrier encasement must be boosted to establish long-acting ARV depots. The mixed-lineage kinase 3 (MLK-3) inhibitor URMC-099 provides this function by affecting autophagy. Here, we have shown that URMC-099 facilitates ARV sequestration and its antiretroviral responses by promoting the nuclear translocation of the transcription factor EB (TFEB). In monocyte-derived macrophages, URMC-099 induction of autophagy led to retention of nanoparticles containing the antiretroviral protease inhibitor atazanavir. These nanoparticles were localized within macrophage autophagosomes, leading to a 4-fold enhancement of mitochondrial and cell vitality. In rodents, URMC-099 activation of autophagy led to 50-fold increases in the plasma drug concentration of the viral integrase inhibitor dolutegravir. These data paralleled URMC-099–mediated induction of autophagy and the previously reported antiretroviral responses in HIV-1–infected humanized mice. We conclude that pharmacologic induction of autophagy provides a means to extend the action of a long-acting, slow, effective release of antiretroviral therapy.
Divya Prakash Gnanadhas, Prasanta K. Dash, Brady Sillman, Aditya N. Bade, Zhiyi Lin, Diana L. Palandri, Nagsen Gautam, Yazen Alnouti, Harris A. Gelbard, JoEllyn McMillan, R. Lee Mosley, Benson Edagwa, Howard E. Gendelman, Santhi Gorantla
Current strategies for HIV-1 eradication require the reactivation of latent HIV-1 in resting CD4+ T cells (rCD4s). Global T cell activation is a well-characterized means of inducing HIV-1 transcription, but is considered too toxic for clinical applications. Here, we have explored a strategy that involves a combination of immune activation and the immunosuppressive mTOR inhibitor rapamycin. In purified rCD4s from HIV-1–infected individuals on antiretroviral therapy, rapamycin treatment downregulated markers of toxicity, including proinflammatory cytokine release and cellular proliferation that were induced after potent T cell activation using αCD3/αCD28 antibodies. Using an ex vivo assay for HIV-1 mRNA, we demonstrated that despite this immunomodulatory effect, rapamycin did not affect HIV-1 gene expression induced by T cell activation in these rCD4s. In contrast, treating activated rCD4s with the immunosuppressant cyclosporin, a calcineurin inhibitor, robustly inhibited HIV-1 reactivation. Importantly, rapamycin treatment did not impair cytotoxic T lymphocyte (CTL) recognition and killing of infected cells. These findings raise the possibility of using rapamycin in conjunction with T cell–activating agents in HIV-1 cure strategies.
Alyssa R. Martin, Ross A. Pollack, Adam Capoferri, Richard F. Ambinder, Christine M. Durand, Robert F. Siliciano
Chronic immune activation, immunosuppression, and T cell exhaustion are hallmarks of HIV infection, yet the mechanisms driving these processes are unclear. Chronic activation can be a driving force in immune exhaustion, and type I interferons (IFN-I) are emerging as critical components underlying ongoing activation in HIV infection. Here, we have tested the effect of blocking IFN-I signaling on T cell responses and virus replication in a murine model of chronic HIV infection. Using HIV-infected humanized mice, we demonstrated that in vivo blockade of IFN-I signaling during chronic HIV infection diminished HIV-driven immune activation, decreased T cell exhaustion marker expression, restored HIV-specific CD8 T cell function, and led to decreased viral replication. Antiretroviral therapy (ART) in combination with IFN-I blockade accelerated viral suppression, further decreased viral loads, and reduced the persistently infected HIV reservoir compared with ART treatment alone. Our data suggest that blocking IFN-I signaling in conjunction with ART treatment can restore immune function and may reduce viral reservoirs during chronic HIV infection, providing validation for IFN-I blockade as a potential therapy for HIV infection.
Anjie Zhen, Valerie Rezek, Cindy Youn, Brianna Lam, Nelson Chang, Jonathan Rick, Mayra Carrillo, Heather Martin, Saro Kasparian, Philip Syed, Nicholas Rice, David G. Brooks, Scott G. Kitchen
Despite the efficient suppression of HIV-1 replication that can be achieved with combined antiretroviral therapy (cART), low levels of type I interferon (IFN-I) signaling persist in some individuals. This sustained signaling may impede immune recovery and foster viral persistence. Here we report studies using a monoclonal antibody to block IFN-α/β receptor (IFNAR) signaling in humanized mice (hu-mice) that were persistently infected with HIV-1. We discovered that effective cART restored the number of human immune cells in HIV-1–infected hu-mice but did not rescue their immune hyperactivation and dysfunction. IFNAR blockade fully reversed HIV-1–induced immune hyperactivation and rescued anti–HIV-1 immune responses in T cells from HIV-1–infected hu-mice. Finally, we found that IFNAR blockade in the presence of cART reduced the size of HIV-1 reservoirs in lymphoid tissues and delayed HIV-1 rebound after cART cessation in the HIV-1–infected hu-mice. We conclude that low levels of IFN-I signaling contribute to HIV-1–associated immune dysfunction and foster HIV-1 persistence in cART-treated hosts. Our results suggest that blocking IFNAR may provide a potential strategy to enhance immune recovery and reduce HIV-1 reservoirs in individuals with sustained elevations in IFN-I signaling during suppressive cART.
Liang Cheng, Jianping Ma, Jingyun Li, Dan Li, Guangming Li, Feng Li, Qing Zhang, Haisheng Yu, Fumihiko Yasui, Chaobaihui Ye, Li-Chung Tsao, Zhiyuan Hu, Lishan Su, Liguo Zhang