Researchers report in the August 15 edition of Journal of Virology that they have uncovered more than 1,700 human genes expressed in low levels in latently infected cells that, when turned on, may make HIV in the cells vulnerable to antiretroviral medications.
HIV hides in dormant immune system cells, escaping the effects of anti-HIV drugs until it begins replicating. Previous studies suggest it could take decades to wipe out these reservoirs. But the scientists used a compound called resveratrol to activate a specific gene, called Egr1, that stimulated HIV production and made the virus visible to medications. The newly documented genes may similarly activate HIV replication, the researchers say.
'There may be additional new ways to manipulate HIV latency' and deplete these reservoirs or 'perhaps eliminate HIV infection,' says lead researcher Vyjayanthi Krishnan.