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Tackling HIV Persistence: Pharmacological versus CRISPR-Based Shock Strategies

Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, 1105 AZ Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Infectious Diseases Department, Liège University Hospital, 4000 Liege, Belgium
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2018, 10(4), 157;
Received: 21 March 2018 / Revised: 26 March 2018 / Accepted: 28 March 2018 / Published: 29 March 2018
PDF [3182 KB, uploaded 29 March 2018]


Jan Svoboda studied aspects of viral latency, in particular with respect to disease induction by avian RNA tumor viruses, which were later renamed as part of the extended retrovirus family. The course of retroviral pathogenesis is intrinsically linked to their unique property of integrating the DNA copy of the retroviral genome into that of the host cell, thus forming the provirus. Retroviral latency has recently become of major clinical interest to allow a better understanding of why we can effectively block the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) in infected individuals with antiviral drugs, yet never reach a cure. We will discuss HIV-1 latency and its direct consequence—the formation of long-lasting HIV-1 reservoirs. We next focus on one of the most explored strategies in tackling HIV-1 reservoirs—the “shock and kill” strategy—which describes the broadly explored pharmacological way of kicking the latent provirus, with subsequent killing of the virus-producing cell by the immune system. We furthermore present how the clustered regularly interspaced palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and associated protein (Cas) system can be harnessed to reach the same objective by reactivating HIV-1 gene expression from latency. We will review the benefits and drawbacks of these different cure strategies. View Full-Text
Keywords: HIV latency; reservoirs; cure; shock strategy; latency-reversing agents; CRISPR-Cas system; CRISPR-dCas9 HIV latency; reservoirs; cure; shock strategy; latency-reversing agents; CRISPR-Cas system; CRISPR-dCas9

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Darcis, G.; Das, A.T.; Berkhout, B. Tackling HIV Persistence: Pharmacological versus CRISPR-Based Shock Strategies. Viruses 2018, 10, 157.

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