• Identification of Modulators of HIV-1 Proviral Transcription from a Library of FDA-Approved Pharmaceuticals.

      Sampey, Gavin C; Iordanskiy, Sergey; Pleet, Michelle L; DeMarino, Catherine; Romerio, Fabio; Mahieux, Renaud; Kashanchi, Fatah (MDPI AG, 2020-09-23)
      Human immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) is the most prevalent human retrovirus. Recent data show that 34 million people are living with HIV-1 worldwide. HIV-1 infections can lead to AIDS which still causes nearly 20,000 deaths annually in the USA alone. As this retrovirus leads to high morbidity and mortality conditions, more effective therapeutic regimens must be developed to treat these viral infections. A key target for intervention for which there are no current FDA-approved modulators is at the point of proviral transcription. One successful method for identifying novel therapeutics for treating infectious diseases is the repurposing of pharmaceuticals that are approved by the FDA for alternate indications. Major benefits of using FDA-approved drugs include the fact that the compounds have well established toxicity profiles, approved manufacturing processes, and immediate commercial availability to the patients. Here, we demonstrate that pharmaceuticals previously approved for other indications can be utilized to either activate or inhibit HIV-1 proviral transcription. Specifically, we found febuxostat, eltrombopag, and resveratrol to be activators of HIV-1 transcription, while mycophenolate was our lead inhibitor of HIV-1 transcription. Additionally, we observed that the infected cells of lymphoid and myeloid lineage responded differently to our lead transcriptional modulators. Finally, we demonstrated that the use of a multi-dose regimen allowed for enhanced activation with our transcriptional activators. © 2020 by the authors.
    • Low-Level Ionizing Radiation Induces Selective Killing of HIV-1-Infected Cells with Reversal of Cytokine Induction Using mTOR Inhibitors

      Pinto, Daniel O; DeMarino, Catherine; Vo, Thy T; Cowen, Maria; Kim, Yuriy; Pleet, Michelle L; Barclay, Robert A; Noren Hooten, Nicole; Evans, Michele K; Heredia, Alonso; et al. (MDPI AG, 2020-08-13)
      HIV-1 infects 39.5 million people worldwide, and cART is effective in preventing viral spread by reducing HIV-1 plasma viral loads to undetectable levels. However, viral reservoirs persist by mechanisms, including the inhibition of autophagy by HIV-1 proteins (i.e., Nef and Tat). HIV-1 reservoirs can be targeted by the "shock and kill" strategy, which utilizes latency-reversing agents (LRAs) to activate latent proviruses and immunotarget the virus-producing cells. Yet, limitations include reduced LRA permeability across anatomical barriers and immune hyper-activation. Ionizing radiation (IR) induces effective viral activation across anatomical barriers. Like other LRAs, IR may cause inflammation and modulate the secretion of extracellular vesicles (EVs). We and others have shown that cells may secrete cytokines and viral proteins in EVs and, therefore, LRAs may contribute to inflammatory EVs. In the present study, we mitigated the effects of IR-induced inflammatory EVs (i.e., TNF-α), through the use of mTOR inhibitors (mTORi; Rapamycin and INK128). Further, mTORi were found to enhance the selective killing of HIV-1-infected myeloid and T-cell reservoirs at the exclusion of uninfected cells, potentially via inhibition of viral transcription/translation and induction of autophagy. Collectively, the proposed regimen using cART, IR, and mTORi presents a novel approach allowing for the targeting of viral reservoirs, prevention of immune hyper-activation, and selectively killing latently infected HIV-1 cells.