Detection of HIV Genomes in Distinct Monocyte Subsets from Virally Suppressed HIV-Infected Individuals Implicates their Role as Cellular HIV Latent Reservoirs

Leung, Eddy
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University of Hawaii at Manoa
HIV compromises the human immune system and establishes life long infection. While HIV can be effectively suppressed with anti‐retroviral combination therapy (cART) in blood to undetectable levels, the establishment of the latent reservoir in immune cells stands as one of the greatest obstacles in developing a cure for HIV. The resilience of this latent cellular HIV reservoir is due to its ability to adopt a dormant provirus form in immune cells, from which HIV may emerge to re‐establish an active infection if cART is stopped. It is well understood that CD4+ T cells are the chief cellular sanctuaries for the latent reservoir. However, current evidence points to an alternative reservoir in the form of monocytes and macrophages. In this study, we sought to understand the role of monocyte characteristics that are critical in the establishment of the HIV reservoir. We obtained highly purified monocyte sub-populations from the blood of HIV-infected participants on virally suppressive cART and evaluated the viral content and composition using flow cytometric and PCR technologies. We observed unique HIV viral signatures among the monocyte populations. Comparisons drawn between the viral reservoir and cellular characteristics may lend to new insights on the role of monocytes in seeding and maintaining the latent HIV reservoir.
HIV, monocytes, Latent reservoir
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