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MBio. 2011 Sep 20;2(5). pii: e00134-11. doi: 10.1128/mBio.00134-11. Print 2011.

Next-generation sequencing reveals HIV-1-mediated suppression of T cell activation and RNA processing and regulation of noncoding RNA expression in a CD4+ T cell line.

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Department of Microbiology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA.


Next-generation sequencing (NGS) enables the highly sensitive measurement of whole transcriptomes. We report the first application to our knowledge of this technology to the analysis of RNA from a CD4+ T cell line infected with intact HIV. We sequenced the total mRNA from infected cells and detected differences in the expression of both host and viral mRNA. Viral reads represented a large portion of the total mapped sequencing reads: approximately 20% at 12 h postinfection (hpi) and 40% at 24 hpi. We also detected a small but significant suppression of T cell activation-related genes at 12 hpi. This suppression persisted and expanded by 24 hpi, providing new possible markers of virus-induced T cell cytopathology. By 24 hpi, the expression of over 50% of detectable host loci was also altered, indicating widespread alteration of host processes, including RNA processing, splicing, and transport to an extent not previously reported. In addition, next-generation sequencing provided insights into alternative viral RNA splice events and the expression of noncoding RNAs, including microRNA host genes.


Recent advances in sequencing technology now allow the measurement of effectively all the RNA in a cell. This approach is especially useful for studying models of virus infection, as it allows the simultaneous measurement of both host and viral RNA. Using next-generation sequencing (NGS), we measured changes in total mRNA from a HIV-infected T cell line. To our knowledge, this is the first application of this technology to the investigation of HIV-host interactions involving intact HIV. We directly measured the amount of viral mRNA in infected cells and detected novel viral RNA splice variants and changes in the host expression of noncoding RNA species. We also detected small changes in T cell activation and other host processes during the early stages of viral replication that increased near the peak of viral replication, providing new candidate biomarkers of T cell death.

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