Purpose of review: A reservoir of latently infected cells remains in HIV-infected patients treated with highly active antiretroviral therapy treatment. Persistence of HIV in this latent reservoir has prevented full viral eradication. In order to understand and develop rational therapeutics to flush out HIV latency, the molecular mechanisms governing the phenomena of HIV latency need to be understood. Several mechanisms have been proposed to explain HIV latency.
Recent findings: Epigenetic regulation of the HIV promoter in the 5′ long terminal repeat of HIV-1 via histone protein modifications and the presence of inhibitory nucleosomes play a critical role in the establishment, maintenance, and reactivation of HIV latency. Recent reports have shed further light on how HIV latency might be epigenetically regulated. In this review, we discuss how these recent reports broaden our understanding of how HIV latency is regulated. Here, we review how histone modifications and chromatin remodeling affect the transcriptional activity of the HIV promoter in the context of HIV latency.
Summary: These new epigenetic regulators of HIV latency pose as potential interesting candidates for therapeutics against HIV latency.