Purpose of review
This review will highlight some of the recent advances in genome engineering with applications for both clinical and basic science investigations of HIV-1.
Over the last year, the field of HIV cure research has seen major breakthroughs with the success of the first phase I clinical trial involving gene editing of CCR5 in patient-derived CD4+ T cells. This first human use of gene-editing technology was accomplished using zinc finger nucleases (ZFNs). Zinc finger nucleases and the advent of additional tools for genome engineering, including transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALENS) and the clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeat (CRISPR)/Cas9 system, have made gene editing remarkably simple and affordable. Here we will discuss the different gene-editing technologies, the use of gene editing in HIV research over the past year, and potential applications of gene editing for both in-vitro and in-vivo studies.
Genome-engineering technologies have rapidly progressed over the past few years such that these systems can be easily applied in any laboratory for a variety of purposes. For HIV-1, upcoming clinical trials will determine if gene editing can provide the long-awaited functional cure. In addition, manipulation of host genomes, whether in vivo or in vitro, can facilitate development of better animal models and culture methods for studying HIV-1 transmission, pathogenesis, and virus–host interactions.