Latency remains a barrier to achieving a sterilizing cure to HIV infection. It is thus important to find new host factor(s) to better understand maintenance of HIV latency and be exploited to develop new and more efficient latency reversing agents (LRAs). Here we employed RNA interference screening with a latently HIV-1-infected cell-line to identify Stathmin 1 (STMN1) as a host factor required for maintaining HIV-1 latency. Depletion of STMN1 significantly enhanced HIV-1 expression in a STMN1 depletion-dependent manner and forced expression of exogenous STMN1 suppressed it. We further showed that STMN1 depletion increases HIV-1 proviral transcriptional elongation. Moreover, chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP)-qPCR assays revealed STMN1 accumulation on/near the HIV-1 5' LTR region compared to other regions on the HIV-1 provirus, suggesting the possible contribution of STMN1 to HIV-1 transcription. These results suggest that STMN1 is required for the maintenance of HIV-1 latency and implicates STMN1 as a novel therapeutic target to eradicate HIV-1.
Keywords: HIV-1; HIV-1 reactivation; Host factor; Latency; STMN1.
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