FOXO1 promotes HIV Latency by suppressing ER stress in T cells

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
A. Vallejo-GraciaMelanie Ott


Quiescence is a hallmark of CD4+ T cells latently infected with HIV-1. While reversing this quiescence is an effective approach to reactivate latent HIV from T cells in culture, it can cause deleterious cytokine dysregulation in patients. Here we report that FOXO1, a key regulator of T-cell quiescence, promotes latency and suppresses productive HIV infection. In resting T cells, FOXO1 inhibition induces ER stress and activates two associated transcription factors: activating transcription factor 4 (ATF4) and nuclear factor of activated T cells (NFAT). Both factors associate with HIV chromatin and are necessary for HIV reactivation. Indeed, inhibition of PKR-like endoplasmic reticulum kinase (PERK), a known link between ER stress and ATF4, and calcineurin, a calcium-dependent regulator of NFAT, synergistically suppress HIV reactivation induced by FOXO1 inhibition. Thus, our studies uncover a novel link between FOXO1, ER stress, and HIV infection that could be therapeutically exploited to selectively reverse T-cell quiescence and reduce the size of the latent viral reservoir.

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