In this study, we investigated the effect of acetate, the most concentrated short-chain fatty acid (SCFA) in the gut and bloodstream, on the susceptibility of primary human CD4+ T cells to HIV-1 infection. We report that HIV-1 replication is increased in CD3/CD28-costimulated CD4+ T cells upon acetate treatment. This enhancing effect correlates with increased expression of the early activation marker CD69 and impaired class I/II histone deacetylase (HDAC) activity. In addition, acetate enhances acetylation of histones H3 and H4 and augments HIV-1 integration into the genome of CD4+ T cells. Thus, we propose that upon antigen presentation, acetate influences class I/II HDAC activity that transforms condensed chromatin into a more relaxed structure. This event leads to a higher level of viral integration and enhanced HIV-1 production. In line with previous studies showing reactivation of latent HIV-1 by SCFAs, we provide evidence that acetate can also increase the susceptibility of primary human CD4+ T cells to productive HIV-1 infection.IMPORTANCE Alterations in the fecal microbiota and intestinal epithelial damage involved in the gastrointestinal disorder associated with HIV-1 infection result in microbial translocation that leads to disease progression and virus-related comorbidities. Indeed, notably via production of short-chain fatty acids, bacteria migrating from the lumen to the intestinal mucosa could influence HIV-1 replication by epigenetic regulatory mechanisms, such as histone acetylation. We demonstrate that acetate enhances virus production in primary human CD4+ T cells. Moreover, we report that acetate impairs class I/II histone deacetylase activity and increases integration of HIV-1 DNA into the host genome. Therefore, it can be postulated that bacterial metabolites such as acetate modulate HIV-1-mediated disease progression.
Keywords: CD4+ T cells; HIV-1; histone acetylation; histone deacetylases; integration; provirus.
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