Purpose of review: One of the seven key scientific priorities identified in the road map on HIV cure research is to ‘determine the host mechanisms that control HIV replication in the absence of therapy’. This review summarizes the recent work in genomics and in epigenetic control of viral replication that is relevant for this mission.
Recent findings: New technologies allow the joint analysis of host and viral transcripts. They identify the patterns of antisense transcription of the viral genome and its role in gene regulation. High-throughput studies facilitate the assessment of integration at the genome scale. Integration site, orientation and host genomic context modulate the transcription and should also be assessed at the level of single cells. The various models of latency in primary cells can be followed using dynamic study designs to acquire transcriptome and proteome data of the process of entry, maintenance and reactivation of latency. Dynamic studies can be applied to the study of transcription factors and chromatin modifications in latency and upon reactivation.
Summary: The convergence of primary cell models of latency, new high-throughput quantitative technologies applied to the study of time series and the identification of compounds that reactivate viral transcription bring unprecedented precision to the study of viral latency.