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Open AccessReview

Tat-Based Therapies as an Adjuvant for an HIV-1 Functional Cure

1
Department of Cell and Molecular Biology, QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute, Herston, QLD 4006, Australia
2
Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, QLD 4072, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Viruses 2020, 12(4), 415; https://doi.org/10.3390/v12040415
Received: 28 February 2020 / Revised: 31 March 2020 / Accepted: 4 April 2020 / Published: 8 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue HIV-1 Transcription Regulation)
The human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV) establishes a chronic infection that can be well controlled, but not cured, by combined antiretroviral therapy (cART). Interventions have been explored to accomplish a functional cure, meaning that a patient remains infected but HIV is undetectable in the blood, with the aim of allowing patients to live without cART. Tat, the viral transactivator of transcription protein, plays a critical role in controlling HIV transcription, latency, and viral rebound following the interruption of cART treatment. Therefore, a logical approach for controlling HIV would be to block Tat. Tackling Tat with inhibitors has been a difficult task, but some recent discoveries hold promise. Two anti-HIV proteins, Nullbasic (a mutant of Tat) and HT1 (a fusion of HEXIM1 and Tat functional domains) inhibit viral transcription by interfering with the interaction of Tat and cellular factors. Two small molecules, didehydro-cortistatin A (dCA) and triptolide, inhibit Tat by different mechanisms: dCA through direct binding and triptolide through enhanced proteasomal degradation. Finally, two Tat-based vaccines under development elicit Tat-neutralizing antibodies. These vaccines have increased the levels of CD4+ cells and reduced viral loads in HIV-infected people, suggesting that the new vaccines are therapeutic. This review summarizes recent developments of anti-Tat agents and how they could contribute to a functional cure for HIV. View Full-Text
Keywords: Tat; HIV transcription; Nullbasic; didehydro-cortistatin A; block and lock; HIV functional cure; Tat vaccine; triptolide Tat; HIV transcription; Nullbasic; didehydro-cortistatin A; block and lock; HIV functional cure; Tat vaccine; triptolide
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MDPI and ACS Style

Jin, H.; Li, D.; Lin, M.-H.; Li, L.; Harrich, D. Tat-Based Therapies as an Adjuvant for an HIV-1 Functional Cure. Viruses 2020, 12, 415.

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