The potential role of HDAC inhibitors in de-silencing latent HIV virus

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1) pandemic has represented one of the greatest burdens in modern medicine. HIV-1 is a slow replicating lentivirus that leads to the progressive failure of the immune system, allowing life-threatening diseases to thrive. HIV-1 preferentially infects CD4 + T cells, which give rise to two potential habitats for the virus to live, allowing for massive viral replication in activated cells and latency in resting cells. Until recently, new developments in HIV-1 research have identified factors involved in restricting retroviral infections. Latent HIV-1 proviruses are silenced via deacetylation and methylation of histones located at the viral DNA promoter region. The existence of multiple mechanisms that recruit repressive histone deacetylase (HDAC) complexes to the reservoir promoter region raises the possibility that HDAC inhibitors might lead to the activation of HIV-1 in latently infected cells. With the reemergence of HIV-1 from its latent period, the possibility of immunological attack and eradication of HIV-1 from an infected individual is now on the horizon. In this review, we focus on the rationale behind HDAC inhibitors as a potential treatment for HIV-1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)575-583
Number of pages9
JournalDrugs of the Future
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • De-silencing
  • Histone deacetyl ase inhibitors
  • HIV-1
  • Varinostat
  • Viral latency

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