Selective killing of human immunodeficiency virus infected cells by non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor-induced activation of HIV protease
Jochmans, Dirk × Anders, Maria Keuleers, Inge Smeulders, Liesbeth Kräusslich, Hans-Georg Kraus, Günter Müller, Barbara #
Retrovirology vol:7 pages:89
Current antiretroviral therapy against human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) reduces viral load and thereby prevents viral spread, but it cannot eradicate proviral genomes from infected cells. Cells in immunological sanctuaries as well as cells producing low levels of virus apparently contribute to a reservoir that maintains HIV persistence in the presence of highly active antiretroviral therapy. Thus, accelerated elimination of virus producing cells may represent a complementary strategy to control HIV infection. Here we sought to exploit HIV protease (PR) related cytotoxicity in order to develop a strategy for drug induced killing of HIV producing cells. PR processes the viral Gag and Gag-Pol polyproteins during virus maturation, but is also implicated in killing of virus producing cells through off-target cleavage of host proteins. It has been observed previously that micromolar concentrations of certain non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) can stimulate intracellular PR activity, presumably by enhancing Gag-Pol dimerization.