HIV-1 Proviral Genome Engineering with CRISPR-Cas9 for Mechanistic Studies

Usman Hyder, Ashutosh Shukla, Ashwini Challa, Iván D’Orso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


HIV-1 latency remains a barrier to a functional cure because of the ability of virtually silent yet inducible proviruses within reservoir cells to transcriptionally reactivate upon cell stimulation. HIV-1 reactivation occurs through the sequential action of host transcription factors (TFs) during the “host phase” and the viral TF Tat during the “viral phase”, which together facilitate the positive feedback loop required for exponential transcription, replication, and pathogenesis. The sequential action of these TFs poses a challenge to precisely delineate the contributions of the host and viral phases of the transcriptional program to guide future mechanistic and therapeutic studies. To address this limitation, we devised a genome engineering approach to mutate tat and create a genetically matched pair of Jurkat T cell clones harboring HIV-1 at the same integration site with and without Tat expression. By comparing the transcriptional profile of both clones, the transition point between the host and viral phases was defined, providing a system that enables the temporal mechanistic interrogation of HIV-1 transcription prior to and after Tat synthesis. Importantly, this CRISPR method is broadly applicable to knockout individual viral proteins or genomic regulatory elements to delineate their contributions to various aspects of the viral life cycle and ultimately may facilitate therapeutic approaches in our race towards achieving a functional cure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number287
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • Cas9
  • HIV-1
  • Tat
  • genome engineering
  • transcription
  • viruses

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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