The persistence of a transcriptionally competent but latent HIV infected memory CD4+T cell reservoir, despite the effectiveness of Highly Active Antiretroviral therapy (HAART) against active virus, presents the main impediment to HIV eradication. A novel concept in HIV eradication is to activate latent virus to subsequently eliminate with HAART. Much effort has gone into identification of protein complexes that regulate HIV LTR activity. Strategies have mainly relied on candidate approaches. However, due to technical limitations, comprehensive unbiased identification of host proteins associated with and necessary for silencing of the latent HIV LTR has not been possible.
Trxn-PURGE proposes a novel multidisciplinary approach combining current knowledge of HIV transcription and new insights into eradication strategies with state of the art high though-put approaches, mycology, virology, genetics and conventional biochemistry to identify novel players in maintenance and activation of HIV transcriptional latency. We will: 1. Use a novel unbiased strategy to identify the in vivo latent LTR-bound protein complex directly from infected T cells. 2. Conduct a cell-based high-throughput Haploid genetic screen to identify novel factors essential for maintenance of HIV latency. 3. Having identified three putative activators from a limited library, we will perform a large-scale screen with unbiased library of fungal supernatants to identify molecules capable of activation of latent HIV.
These parallel approaches will identify novel molecular targets and molecules in activation of HIV transcriptional latency, which we will functionally and mechanistically characterize alone and in synergy with known compounds implicated in latent LTR activation in both 4. T cell lines and 5. primary human CD4+T cells harboring latent HIV.
By unravelling its molecular mechanisms, Trxn-PURGE will set the stage for the development of a clinical combinatorial therapy to activate latent HIV.
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