Single-Cell Transcriptomic Analysis of HIV Reservoirs before and After Systemic Interleukin-2 (IL-2) Therapy

This project supports research conducted at the NIAID Vaccine Research Center (VRC), the University of Minnesota, Harvard University, and the University of California San Francisco under a grant from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR). The project is funded in three phases. Funding for each phase is dependent on meeting the deliverables of the preceding phase. Funds available for this initial phase are $200,000 and funds for all three phases may be up to $1.5MM. Phase I of the study proposes to adopt and optimize a set of new tools that allow researchers to look at the expression of individual genes within single cells infected with HIV. By using these tools, they will identify gene expression patterns that lead to the initiation of expression of HIV from quiescently infected HIV cells exposed to interleukin-2. Understanding what triggers the virus to wake up from this dormant state will lead to new targets for activating virus reservoirs, making them vulnerable to elimination by the body's natural immune responses or by antiretroviral therapy.