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Open AccessCommunication

The Tat Protein of HIV-1 Prevents the Loss of HSV-Specific Memory Adaptive Responses and Favors the Control of Viral Reactivation

1
Department of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
2
AIDS National Center, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Shared senior authorship.
Vaccines 2020, 8(2), 274; https://doi.org/10.3390/vaccines8020274
Received: 28 April 2020 / Revised: 27 May 2020 / Accepted: 1 June 2020 / Published: 4 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Vaccine Development for Herpes Simplex Viruses)
The development of therapeutic strategies to control the reactivation of the Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV) is an unaddressed priority. In this study, we evaluated whether Tat, a HIV-1 protein displaying adjuvant functions, could improve previously established HSV-specific memory responses and prevent viral reactivation. To this aim, mice were infected with non-lethal doses of HSV-1 and, 44 days later, injected or not with Tat. Mice were then monitored to check their health status and measure memory HSV-specific cellular and humoral responses. The appearance of symptoms associated with HSV-reactivation was observed at significantly higher frequencies in the control group than in the Tat-treated mice. In addition, the control animals experienced a time-dependent decrease in HSV-specific Immunoglobulin G (IgG), while the Tat-treated mice maintained antibody titers over time. IgG levels were directly correlated with the number of HSV-specific CD8+ T cells, suggesting an effect of Tat on both arms of the adaptive immunity. Consistent with the maintenance of HSV-specific immune memory, Tat-treated mice showed a better control of HSV-1 re-infection. Although further studies are necessary to assess whether similar effects are observed in other models, these results indicate that Tat exerts a therapeutic effect against latent HSV-1 infection and re-infection by favoring the maintenance of adaptive immunity. View Full-Text
Keywords: biologically active HIV-1 Tat protein; HSV-1 infection; HSV-1 immune responses; persistence of HSV-immune memory biologically active HIV-1 Tat protein; HSV-1 infection; HSV-1 immune responses; persistence of HSV-immune memory
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Nicoli, F.; Gallerani, E.; Sicurella, M.; Pacifico, S.; Cafaro, A.; Ensoli, B.; Marconi, P.; Caputo, A.; Gavioli, R. The Tat Protein of HIV-1 Prevents the Loss of HSV-Specific Memory Adaptive Responses and Favors the Control of Viral Reactivation. Vaccines 2020, 8, 274.

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