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AbstractHuman immunodeficiency virus 1 (HIV-1) is a life-threatening pathogen that still lacks a curative therapy or vaccine. Despite the reduction in AIDS-related deaths achieved by current antiretroviral therapies, drawbacks including drug resistance and the failure to eradicate infection highlight the need to identify new pathways to target the infection. Circadian rhythms are endogenous 24-hour oscillations which regulate physiological processes including immune responses to infection, and there is an emerging role for the circadian components participating viral replication. The molecular clock consists of transcriptional/translational feedback loops that generate rhythms. In mammals, CLOCK and BMAL1 activate rhythmic transcription of genes including the nuclear receptor REV-ERBα, which represses BMAL1 and plays an essential role in sustaining a functional clock. We investigated whether REV-ERB activity regulates HIV-1 replication, and found REV-ERB agonists inhibited HIV-1 promoter activity in cell lines, primary human CD4 T cells and macrophages, whilst antagonism or genetic disruption of REV-ERB increased promoter activity. Furthermore, the REV-ERB agonist SR9009 inhibited promoter activity of different HIV-subtypes and HIV-1 replication in primary T cells. This study shows a role for REV-ERB synthetic ligands to inhibit HIV-1 LTR promoter activity and viral replication, supporting a role for circadian clock transcription factors in regulating HIV-1 replication.

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