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Front Microbiol. 2019 Aug 13;10:1877. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2019.01877. eCollection 2019.

Inhibition of HTLV-1 Infection by HIV-1 First- and Second-Generation Integrase Strand Transfer Inhibitors.

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Division of Infectious Diseases, Section of Molecular Virology, Department of Medicine, St Mary's Hospital, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.


More than 10 million people worldwide are infected with the retrovirus human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1). Infection phenotypes can range from asymptomatic to severe adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy. HTLV-1, like human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1), is a blood-borne pathogen and viral infection happens in a similar fashion, with the major mode of transmission through breastfeeding. There is a strong correlation between time of infection and disease development, with a higher incidence of ATLL in patients infected during childhood. There is no successful therapeutic or preventative regimen for HTLV-1. It is therefore essential to develop therapies to inhibit transmission or block the onset/development of HTLV-1 associated diseases. Recently, we have seen the overwhelming success of integrase strand transfer inhibitors (INSTIs) in the treatment of HIV-1. Previously, raltegravir was shown to inhibit HTLV-1 infection. Here, we tested FDA-approved and two Phase II HIV-1 INSTIs in vitro and in a cell-to-cell infection model and show that they are highly active in blocking HTLV-1 infection, with bictegravir (EC50 = 0.30 ± 0.17 nM) performing best overall. INSTIs, in particular bictegravir, are more potent in blocking HTLV-1 transmission than tenofovir disproxil fumarate (TDF), an RT inhibitor. Our data suggest that HIV-1 INSTIs could present a good clinical strategy in HTLV-1 management and justifies the inclusion of INSTIs in clinical trials.


HTLV-1; INSTI; PVL; bictegravir; elvitegravir; integrase; raltegravir

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