Nature genetics 2016 12 1949(2) 193-203 doi 10.1038/ng.3741
Host proteins are essential for HIV entry and replication and can be important nonviral therapeutic targets. Large-scale RNA interference (RNAi)-based screens have identified nearly a thousand candidate host factors, but there is little agreement among studies and few factors have been validated. Here we demonstrate that a genome-wide CRISPR-based screen identifies host factors in a physiologically relevant cell system. We identify five factors, including the HIV co-receptors CD4 and CCR5, that are required for HIV infection yet are dispensable for cellular proliferation and viability. Tyrosylprotein sulfotransferase 2 (TPST2) and solute carrier family 35 member B2 (SLC35B2) function in a common pathway to sulfate CCR5 on extracellular tyrosine residues, facilitating CCR5 recognition by the HIV envelope. Activated leukocyte cell adhesion molecule (ALCAM) mediates cell aggregation, which is required for cell-to-cell HIV transmission. We validated these pathways in primary human CD4(+) T cells through Cas9-mediated knockout and antibody blockade. Our findings indicate that HIV infection and replication rely on a limited set of host-dispensable genes and suggest that these pathways can be studied for therapeutic intervention.