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HIV Latency Is Established Directly and Early in Both Resting and Activated Primary CD4 T Cells.

PLoS pathogens (2015-06-13)
Leonard Chavez, Vincenzo Calvanese, Eric Verdin

Highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) suppresses human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication to undetectable levels but cannot fully eradicate the virus because a small reservoir of CD4+ T cells remains latently infected. Since HIV efficiently infects only activated CD4+ T cells and since latent HIV primarily resides in resting CD4+ T cells, it is generally assumed that latency is established when a productively infected cell recycles to a resting state, trapping the virus in a latent state. In this study, we use a dual reporter virus--HIV Duo-Fluo I, which identifies latently infected cells immediately after infection--to investigate how T cell activation affects the establishment of HIV latency. We show that HIV latency can arise from the direct infection of both resting and activated CD4+ T cells. Importantly, returning productively infected cells to a resting state is not associated with a significant silencing of the integrated HIV. We further show that resting CD4+ T cells from human lymphoid tissue (tonsil, spleen) show increased latency after infection when compared to peripheral blood. Our findings raise significant questions regarding the most commonly accepted model for the establishment of latent HIV and suggest that infection of both resting and activated primary CD4+ T cells produce latency.

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