Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

The so-called shock and kill therapies aim to combine HIV-1 reactivation by latency-reversing agents (LRA) with immune clearance to purge the HIV-1 reservoir. The clinical use of LRA has demonstrated detectable perturbations in the HIV-1 reservoir without measurable reductions to date. Consequently, fundamental questions concerning the limitations of the recognition and killing of LRA-reactivated cells by effector cells such as CD8+ T cells remain to be answered. Here, we developed a novel experimental framework where we combine the use of cytotoxic CD8+ T-cell lines and ex vivo CD8+ T cells from HIV-1-infected individuals with functional assays of LRA-inducible reactivation to delineate immune barriers to clear the reservoir. Our results demonstrate the potential for early recognition and killing of reactivated cells by CD8+ T cells. However, the potency of LRAs when crossing the barrier for antigen presentation in target cells, together with the lack of expression of inhibitory receptors in CD8+ T cells, are critical events to maximize the speed of recognition and the magnitude of the killing of LRA-inducible provirus. Taken together, our findings highlight direct limitations in LRA potency and CD8+ T cell functional status to succeed in the cure of HIV-1 infection.

Original publication




Journal article


Front Immunol

Publication Date





CTL (Cytotoxic T lymphocyte), HIV-1 immunogen, HIV-1 reservoir, human immunodeficiency virus, inhibitory receptors, shock and kill