Antimicrobial agents and chemotherapy 2016 12 2761(1) pii 10.1128/AAC.01369-16
GS-9620 is a potent and selective oral Toll-like receptor 7 (TLR7) agonist that directly activates plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). GS-9620 suppressed hepatitis B virus (HBV) in animal models of chronic infection and transiently activated HIV expression ex vivo in latently infected peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from virally suppressed patients. Currently, GS-9620 is under clinical evaluation for treating chronic HBV infection and for reducing latent reservoirs in virally suppressed HIV-infected patients. Here, we investigated the in vitro anti-HIV-1 activity of GS-9620. GS-9620 potently inhibited viral replication in PBMCs, particularly when it was added 24 to 48 h prior to HIV infection (50% effective concentration = 27 nM). Depletion of pDCs but not other immune cell subsets from PBMC cultures suppressed GS-9620 antiviral activity. Although GS-9620 was inactive against HIV in purified CD4(+) T cells and macrophages, HIV replication was potently inhibited by conditioned medium derived from GS-9620-treated pDC cultures when added to CD4(+) T cells prior to infection. This suggests that GS-9620-mediated stimulation of PBMCs induced the production of a soluble factor(s) inhibiting HIV replication in trans GS-9620-treated PBMCs primarily showed increased production of interferon alpha (IFN-α), and cotreatment with IFN-α-blocking antibodies reversed the HIV-1-inhibitory effect of GS-9620. Additional studies demonstrated that GS-9620 inhibited a postentry event in HIV replication at a step coincident with or prior to reverse transcription. The simultaneous activation of HIV-1 expression and inhibition of HIV-1 replication are important considerations for the clinical evaluation of GS-9620 since these antiviral effects may help restrict potential local HIV spread upon in vivo latency reversal.