HIV Latency and the noncoding RNA therapeutic landscape.
Saayman S., Roberts TC., Morris KV., Weinberg MS.
The Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) belongs to the subfamily of lentiviruses that are characterized by long incubation periods and chronic, persistent infection. The virus integrates into the genome of infected CD4+ cells and, in a subpopulation of cells, adopts a transcriptionally silent state, a process referred to a viral latency. This property makes it exceedingly difficult to therapeutically target the virus and eradicate infection. If left untreated, the inexorable demise of the infected individual's immune system ensues, a causal result of Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS). Latently infected cells provide a reservoir that maintains viral infection indefinitely. In this chapter we explore the role of noncoding RNAs in HIV infection and in the establishment and maintenance of viral latency. Both short and long noncoding RNAs are endogenous modulators of epigenetic regulation in human cells and play an active role in gene expression. Lastly, we explore therapeutic modalities based on expressed RNAs that are capable of countering infection, transcriptionally regulating the virus, and suppressing or activating the latent state.