The Journal of general virology

Histone deacetylase inhibitors containing a benzamide functional group and a pyridyl cap are preferentially effective human immunodeficiency virus-1 latency-reversing agents in primary resting CD4+ T cells.

PMID 28113052


Antiretroviral therapy (ART) can control human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) replication in infected individuals. Unfortunately, patients remain persistently infected owing to the establishment of latent infection requiring that ART be maintained indefinitely. One strategy being pursued involves the development of latency-reversing agents (LRAs) to eliminate the latent arm of the infection. One class of molecules that has been tested for LRA activity is the epigenetic modulating compounds histone deacetylases inhibitors (HDACis). Previously, initial screening of these molecules typically commenced using established cell models of viral latency, and although certain drugs such as the HDACi suberoylanilide hydroxamic acid demonstrated strong activity in these models, it did not translate to comparable activity with patient samples. Here we developed a primary cell model of viral latency using primary resting CD4+ T cells infected with Vpx-complemented HIV-1 and found that the activation profile using previously described LRAs mimicked that obtained with patient samples. This primary cell model was used to evaluate 94 epigenetic compounds. Not surprisingly, HDACis were found to be the strongest activators. However, within the HDACi class, the most active LRAs with the least pronounced toxicity contained a benzamide functional moiety with a pyridyl cap group, as exemplified by the HDACi chidamide. The results indicate that HDACis with a benzamide moiety and pyridyl cap group should be considered for further drug development in the pursuit of a successful viral clearance strategy.

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