Near full-length HIV sequencing in multiple tissues collected postmortem reveals shared clonal expansions across distinct reservoirs during ART

Cell Rep. 2023 Sep 26;42(9):113053. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2023.113053. Epub 2023 Sep 6.


HIV persists in tissues during antiretroviral therapy (ART), but the relative contribution of different anatomical compartments to the viral reservoir in humans remains unknown. We performed an extensive characterization of HIV reservoirs in two men who donated their bodies to HIV cure research and who had been on suppressive ART for years. HIV DNA is detected in all tissues, with large variations across anatomical compartments and between participants. Intact HIV genomes represent 2% and 25% of all proviruses in the two participants and are mainly detected in secondary lymphoid organs, with the spleen and mediastinal lymph nodes harboring intact viral genomes in both individuals. Multiple copies of identical HIV genomes are found in all tissues, indicating that clonal expansions are common in anatomical sites. The majority (>85%) of these expanded clones are shared across multiple tissues. These findings suggest that infected cells expand, migrate, and possibly circulate between anatomical sites.

Keywords: CP: Microbiology; HIV reservoir; NFL PCR; autopsy; clonal expansion; compartmentalization; postmortem; replication-competent reservoir; sequencing; tissue reservoir.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Anti-Retroviral Agents* / therapeutic use
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes
  • Clone Cells
  • HIV Infections*
  • Humans
  • Lymph Nodes
  • Male
  • Proviruses / genetics
  • Viral Load / genetics


  • Anti-Retroviral Agents