Transcriptional Circuit Fragility Influences HIV Proviral Fate

Emily L. Morton, Christian V. Forst, Yue Zheng, Ana B. De Paula-Silva, Nora Guadalupe P. Ramirez, Vicente Planelles, Iván D’Orso

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Transcriptional circuit architectures can be evolutionarily selected to precisely dictate a given response. Unlike these cellular systems, HIV is regulated through a complex circuit composed of two successive phases (host and viral), which create a positive feedback loop facilitating viral replication. However, it has long remained unclear whether both phases operate identically and to what extent the host phase influences the entire circuit. Here we report that while the host phase is regulated by a checkpoint whereby KAP1 mediates transcription activation, the virus evolved a minimalist system bypassing KAP1. Given the complex circuit’s architecture, cell-to-cell KAP1 fluctuations impart heterogeneity in the host transcriptional responses thus affecting the feedback loop. Mathematical modeling of a complete circuit reveals how these oscillations ultimately influence homogeneous reactivation potential of a latent virus. Thus, while HIV drives molecular innovation to fuel robust gene activation, it experiences transcriptional fragility thereby influencing viral fate and cure efforts. In Brief HIV evolved a minimalist but robust transcriptional circuit bypassing host regulatory checkpoints; however, the fragility of the circuit in the host phase (which primes HIV for activation) largely affects proviral transcription and fate. Highlights The host and viral phases of the HIV transcriptional circuit have different functional requirementsHIV evolved a minimalist program to robustly bypass host cell regulatory checkpointsA mathematical model reveals that the host phase is subject to transcriptional circuit fragilityHost transcriptional circuit fragility influences the viral feedback and latency reversal potential

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalUnknown Journal
StatePublished - Dec 23 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

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