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Reviews of "Release of P-TEFb from the Super Elongation Complex promotes HIV-1 Latency Reversal"

Reviewers: G Jiang (University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) | 📒📒📒 ◻️◻️ • A Bosque-Pardo (George Washington University) | 📒📒📒◻️◻️ • Y Kim (University of Melbourne) | 📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️ • R O'Brien (Cornell University) | 📗📗📗📗◻️

Published onApr 09, 2024
Reviews of "Release of P-TEFb from the Super Elongation Complex promotes HIV-1 Latency Reversal"
key-enterThis Pub is a Review of
Release of P-TEFb from the Super Elongation Complex promotes HIV-1 latency reversal
Release of P-TEFb from the Super Elongation Complex promotes HIV-1 latency reversal

ABSTRACT The persistence of HIV-1 in long-lived latent reservoirs during suppressive antiretroviral therapy (ART) remains one of the principal barriers to a functional cure. Blocks to transcriptional elongation play a central role in maintaining the latent state, and several latency reversal strategies focus on the release of positive transcription elongation factor b (P-TEFb) from sequestration by negative regulatory complexes, such as the 7SK complex and BRD4. Another major cellular reservoir of P-TEFb is in Super Elongation Complexes (SECs), which play broad regulatory roles in host gene expression. Still, it is unknown if the release of P-TEFb from SECs is a viable latency reversal strategy. Here, we demonstrate that the SEC is not required for HIV-1 replication in primary CD4+ T cells and that a small molecular inhibitor of the P-TEFb/SEC interaction (termed KL-2) increases viral transcription. KL-2 acts synergistically with other latency reversing agents (LRAs) to reactivate viral transcription in several cell line models of latency in a manner that is, at least in part, dependent on the viral Tat protein. Finally, we demonstrate that KL-2 enhances viral reactivation in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from people living with HIV on suppressive ART, most notably in combination with inhibitor of apoptosis protein antagonists (IAPi). Taken together, these results suggest that the release of P-TEFb from cellular SECs may be a novel route for HIV-1 latency reactivation.AUTHOR SUMMARY Since the start of the HIV pandemic, it is estimated that nearly 86 million people have been infected with the virus, and about 40 million people have died. Modern antiretroviral therapies potently restrict viral replication and prevent the onset of AIDS, saving millions of lives. However, these therapies are not curative due to the persistence of the virus in a silenced or ‘latent’ state in long-lived cells of the body. One proposed strategy to clear this latent reservoir, termed “shock and kill”, is to activate these silenced viruses such that the infected cells can be cleared from the body by the immune system. While several drugs have been developed that can activate latent viruses, none have proven effective at reducing the size of the latent reservoir in patients in clinical trials. Here, we describe a new method for latency reactivation using a small molecule inhibitor of a human protein complex called the Super Elongation Complex (SEC). Inhibiting the SEC enhances viral transcription during active infection and triggers the reactivation of latent viruses, especially when in combination with other latency reversing agents. These results pave the way for developing more effective strategies to reactivate latent viruses towards a functional cure.

To read the original manuscript, click the link above.

Summary of Reviews: This preprint suggests that inhibiting the Super Elongation Complex can enhance HIV latency reversal. Reviewers noted concerns including the high, toxic concentrations of the inhibitor used, lack of raw data and normalization details, and the need for further mechanistic evidence of the inhibitor's specificity. One reviewer deemed it not informative due to these issues. The study is promising but requires additional experiments and clarification before the findings can be considered reliable.

Reviewer 1 (Guochun J…) | 📒📒📒 ◻️◻️

Reviewer 2 (Alberto B…) | 📒📒📒 ◻️◻️

Reviewer 3 (Youry K…) | 📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️

Reviewer 4 (Robert O…) | 📗📗📗📗◻️

RR:C19 Strength of Evidence Scale Key

📕 ◻️◻️◻️◻️ = Misleading

📙📙 ◻️◻️◻️ = Not Informative

📒📒📒 ◻️◻️ = Potentially Informative

📗📗📗📗◻️ = Reliable

📘📘📘📘📘 = Strong

To read the reviews, click the links below. 

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