Chromatin Regulation and the Histone Code in HIV Latency

Yale J Biol Med. 2017 Jun 23;90(2):229-243. eCollection 2017 Jun.


The formation of a latent reservoir of Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection hidden from immune clearance remains a significant obstacle to approaches to eradicate HIV infection. Towards an understanding of the mechanisms of HIV persistence, there is a growing body of work implicating epigenetic regulation of chromatin in establishment and maintenance of this latent reservoir. Here we discuss recent advances in the field of chromatin regulation, specifically in our understanding of the histone code, and how these discoveries relate to our current knowledge of the chromatin mechanisms linked to HIV transcriptional repression and the reversal of latency. We also examine mechanisms unexplored in the context of HIV latency and briefly discuss current therapies aimed at the induction of proviral expression within latently infected cells. We aim to emphasize that a greater understanding of the epigenetic mechanisms which govern HIV latency could lead to new therapeutic targets for latency reversal and clearance cure strategies.

Keywords: HIV; chromatin; epigenetic; histone code; latency.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Chromatin / physiology*
  • Epigenesis, Genetic / physiology
  • HIV / physiology*
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Histone Code / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Virus Latency / physiology*


  • Chromatin