Enhancing HIV-1 latency reversal through regulating the elongating RNA Pol II pause-release by a small-molecule disruptor of PAF1C

Shimaa H.A. Soliman, William J. Cisneros, Marta Iwanaszko, Yuki Aoi, Sheetal Ganesan, Miriam Walter, Jacob M. Zeidner, Rama K Mishra, Eun Young Kim, Steven M. Wolinsky, Judd F. Hultquist, Ali Shilatifard*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations

Abstract

The polymerase-associated factor 1 complex (PAF1C) is a key, post-initiation transcriptional regulator of both promoter-proximal pausing and productive elongation catalyzed by RNA Pol II and is also involved in transcriptional repression of viral gene expression during human immunodeficiency virus–1 (HIV-1) latency. Using a molecular docking–based compound screen in silico and global sequencing–based candidate evaluation in vivo, we identified a first-in-class, small-molecule inhibitor of PAF1C (iPAF1C) that disrupts PAF1 chromatin occupancy and induces global release of promoter-proximal paused RNA Pol II into gene bodies. Transcriptomic analysis revealed that iPAF1C treatment mimics acute PAF1 subunit depletion and impairs RNA Pol II pausing at heat shock–down-regulated genes. Furthermore, iPAF1C enhances the activity of diverse HIV-1 latency reversal agents both in cell line latency models and in primary cells from persons living with HIV-1. In sum, this study demonstrates that efficient disruption of PAF1C by a first-in-class, small-molecule inhibitor may have therapeutic potential for improving current HIV-1 latency reversal strategies.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbereadf2468
JournalScience Advances
Volume9
Issue number10
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2023

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General

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