Way to kill hidden HIV-1

Way to kill hidden HIV-1

The treatment of AIDS with combination antiretroviral therapy (cART) remains lifelong largely because the virus persists in latent reservoirs. Elimination of latently infected cells could therefore reduce treatment duration and facilitate immune reconstitution.

Researchers in the journal Nature Communications report an approach to reduce the viral reservoir by activating dormant viral gene expression and directing T lymphocytes to lyse previously latent, HIV-1-infected cells.

An immunomodulatory protein was created that combines the specificity of a HIV-1 broadly neutralizing antibody with that of an antibody to the CD3 component of the T-cell receptor.

CD3 engagement by the protein can stimulate T-cell activation that induces proviral gene expression in latently infected T cells. It further stimulates CD8 T-cell effector function and redirects T cells to lyse these previously latent-infected cells through recognition of newly expressed Env.

This immunomodulatory protein could potentially help to eliminate latently infected cells and deplete the viral reservoir in HIV-1-infected individuals.