Robust and persistent reactivation of SIV and HIV by N-803 and depletion of CD8+ cells

Nature. 2020 Feb;578(7793):154-159. doi: 10.1038/s41586-020-1946-0. Epub 2020 Jan 22.


Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) persists indefinitely in individuals with HIV who receive antiretroviral therapy (ART) owing to a reservoir of latently infected cells that contain replication-competent virus1-4. Here, to better understand the mechanisms responsible for latency persistence and reversal, we used the interleukin-15 superagonist N-803 in conjunction with the depletion of CD8+ lymphocytes in ART-treated macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV). Although N-803 alone did not reactivate virus production, its administration after the depletion of CD8+ lymphocytes in conjunction with ART treatment induced robust and persistent reactivation of the virus in vivo. We found viraemia of more than 60 copies per ml in all macaques (n = 14; 100%) and in 41 out of a total of 56 samples (73.2%) that were collected each week after N-803 administration. Notably, concordant results were obtained in ART-treated HIV-infected humanized mice. In addition, we observed that co-culture with CD8+ T cells blocked the in vitro latency-reversing effect of N-803 on primary human CD4+ T cells that were latently infected with HIV. These results advance our understanding of the mechanisms responsible for latency reversal and lentivirus reactivation during ART-suppressed infection.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / virology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology
  • HIV Infections / virology
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-15 / agonists*
  • Interleukin-15 / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Depletion
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Mice
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology
  • Simian Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / virology
  • Simian Immunodeficiency Virus / physiology*
  • Virus Latency
  • Virus Replication* / immunology


  • Interleukin-15