Pharmacological Inhibition of IKK to Tackle Latency and Hyperinflammation in Chronic HIV-1 Infection

Int J Mol Sci. 2022 Nov 30;23(23):15000. doi: 10.3390/ijms232315000.


HIV latent infection may be associated with disrupted viral RNA sensing, interferon (IFN) signaling, and/or IFN stimulating genes (ISG) activation. Here, we evaluated the use of compounds selectively targeting at the inhibitor of nuclear factor-κB (IκB) kinase (IKK) complex subunits and related kinases (TBK1) as a novel pathway to reverse HIV-1 latency in latently infected non-clonal lymphoid and myeloid cell in vitro models. IKK inhibitors (IKKis) triggered up to a 1.8-fold increase in HIV reactivation in both, myeloid and lymphoid cell models. The best-in-class IKKis, targeting TBK-1 (MRT67307) and IKKβ (TCPA-1) respectively, were also able to significantly induce viral reactivation in CD4+ T cells from people living with HIV (PLWH) ex vivo. More importantly, although none of the compounds tested showed antiviral activity, the combination of the distinct IKKis with ART did not affect the latency reactivation nor blockade of HIV infection by ART. Finally, as expected, IKKis did not upregulate cell activation markers in primary lymphocytes and innate immune signaling was blocked, resulting in downregulation of inflammatory cytokines. Overall, our results support a dual role of IKKis as immune modulators being able to tackle the HIV latent reservoir in lymphoid and myeloid cellular models and putatively control the hyperinflammatory responses in chronic HIV-1 infection.

Keywords: HIV-1; IKK; TANK binding kinase-1; latency reversing agents.

MeSH terms

  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / drug therapy
  • HIV-1* / physiology
  • Humans
  • Virus Activation
  • Virus Latency