The Lab Notes

The main theme of our research is to understand how gene regulation and genome organization tie in with each other. The Lab Notes are the latest headlines from the lab, featuring a collection of random thoughts and useful code snippets.


The central theme of our latest article is to discuss the impact of the chromatin context on HIV latency. One of the most important findings was to show that HIV expression is a case of position effect: the viruses integrated close to endogenous enhancers have higher expression compared to those which integrates far from enhancers. Before this work, it was unclear whether the expression of HIV can be influenced by the location where it is inserted. The first article that studied this question was published by Albert Jordan. They found some heterogeneity in HIV expression from 34 Jurkat clonal cell lines, each containing a single integration. Consistently, we also found that HIV which integrates in different locations in a chromosome exhibits different levels of expression. Furthermore, we pointed out that latent HIV integrates slightly further from active endogenous enhancers compared to the active one.

Another key result of in this article is that latency-reversing agents have different effects towards different latent proviruses. The current strategy of antiretroviral therapies, called “shock and kill”, is to reactivate latent viruses so that infected cells containing activated HIV can be purged by the immune response. The first drug used in clinical...