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A novel bromodomain inhibitor, CPI-203, serves as an HIV-1 latency-reversing agent by activating positive transcription elongation factor b

Taizhen Liang, Xuanxuan Zhang, Fangyuan Lai, Jian Lin, Chenliang Zhou, Xinfeng Xu, Xinghua Tan, Shuwen Liu, Lin Li
Biochemical Pharmacology 2019 April 13
The persistence of latent human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) reservoirs remains a major hurdle for HIV-1 eradication. The "shock and kill" strategy relies on the drug-mediated reversion of HIV-1 latency and the subsequent death of HIV-producing cells. Unfortunately, none of the agents currently in use possess a sufficient potency to reactivate latent virus or eliminate the latent HIV-1 reservoir in vivo. Here, we demonstrated that a promising specific bromodomain and extraterminal domain inhibitor, CPI-203, could potently reactivate latent HIV-1 in different latently infected cell lines with minimal cytotoxicity by activating the positive transcription elongation factor b signaling pathway. Notably, CPI-203 exhibited synergism in latent HIV-1 reactivation and alleviated the HIV-1-induced "cytokine storm" when used in combination with the protein kinase C (PKC) agonist prostratin. These findings highlight that CPI-203 shows promise as a novel, safe candidate for the design of targeted strategies to "shock and kill" HIV-1 and thus represents a potential functional cure.


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