Anti-HIV effects of chloroquine: mechanisms of inhibition and spectrum of activity


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Abstract

ObjectiveTo investigate the mechanisms and spectrum of the anti-HIV activity of chloroquine.Design and methodsMT-4 cells or peripheral blood mononuclear cells were infected with X4, R5 or R5/X4 HIV-1 strains from clades A–E and HIV-2. The cells were then treated with clinically relevant and achievable chloroquine concentrations (i.e. 0–12.5 μM), so as to determine the EC50. The effects of chloroquine on reverse transcription and integration were tested using a replication-defective reporter HIV-1 construct (pRRL.sin.hPGK.GFP). The effects of the drug on the viral envelope were assessed by syncytium assays and immunoprecipitation, using antibodies to different epitopes of gp120.ResultsIn de-novo infected MT-4 cells, chloroquine selectively inhibited HIV-1 IIIB replication but not pRRL.sin.hPGK.GFP. In chronically HIV-1-infected H9 IIIB cells, chloroquine decreased the infectivity of the newly produced virus and the ability of these cells to form syncytia in co-culture with MT-2 cells. These effects were associated with structural changes in the gp120 glycoprotein, such as a reduction of reactivity with antibodies directed against the glycosylated 2G12 epitope. Although affecting a variable target such as gp120, chloroquine was capable of inhibiting X4, R5 and R5/X4 primary HIV-1 isolates from subtypes A, B, C, D, E and HIV-2.ConclusionAt clinically achievable concentrations chloroquine inhibits HIV-1 post-integrationally by affecting newly produced viral envelope glycoproteins, and the drug has broad-spectrum anti-HIV-1 and HIV-2 activity.

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