There has been a lot of optimism about potentially eradicating HIV-1 using strategies such as reactivation of latently infected cells by small molecules. A recent study has suggested that this approach may in fact be possible;a single dose of the molecule vorinostat was shown to induce HIV expression in CD4+ T cells in vivo. While this strategy may end up being effective, it may be very challenging to reactivate every last latently infected CD4+ T cell. A complementary strategy may be to physically eliminate latently infected cells using antibodies conjugated to toxins. This may be analogous to surgically """"""""debulking"""""""" a tumor prior to initiating chemotherapy. However, targeting latently infected CD4+ T cells has been a challenging task because the phenotype of these cells remains largely unknown. In this new proposal, we plan to use antibodies to more than 200 different T cell markers in order to determine the phenotype of latently infected CD4+ T cells. Such an approach has been successfully used to determine the phenotype of activated T cells in a recent study. This will be analogous to screening for small molecules that activate latently infected CD4+ T cells, but in this case, a library of monoclonal antibodies (Mabs) rather than compounds will be used and the readout will be binding of Mabs to infected resting CD4+ T cells or recently reactivated latently infected CD4+ T cells rather than reactivation itself. We plan to validate our results by sorting resting CD4+ T cells from HIV-1 infected patients on suppressive HAART regimens. We specifically will sort for markers that are identified in our screen to determine whether there is an overrepresentation of HIV-1 DNA and latent replication-competent virus in these cells. This work will have major implications for strategies for HIV-1 eradication since it will potentially lead to the clearance of latently infectd cells.

Public Health Relevance

Latently infected CD4+ T cells represent a major barrier to the eradication of HIV infection with HAART. This project plans to determine whether certain surface markers are frequently found on latently infected CD4+ T cells;the results may be have implications for the eradication of HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Study Section
Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1-AARR-C (02))
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Stansell, Elizabeth H
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Johns Hopkins University
Internal Medicine/Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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Metcalf Pate, Kelly A; Pohlmeyer, Christopher W; Walker-Sperling, Victoria E et al. (2015) A Murine Viral Outgrowth Assay to Detect Residual HIV Type 1 in Patients With Undetectable Viral Loads. J Infect Dis 212:1387-96