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HIV research

Editing human resting CD4 T cells


IIsolation and KnockOut 350CD4+ T cells are central mediators of adaptive and innate immune responses and constitute a major reservoir for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in vivo. Detailed investigations of resting human CD4+ T cells have been precluded by the absence of efficient approaches for genetic manipulation limiting our understanding of HIV replication and restricting efforts to find a cure. Here the Keppler group reports a method for rapid, efficient, activation-neutral gene editing of resting, polyclonal human CD4+ T cells using optimized cell cultivation and nucleofection conditions of Cas9–guide RNA ribonucleoprotein complexes. Up to six genes, including HIV dependency and restriction factors, were knocked out individually or simultaneously and functionally characterized. Moreover, tehy demonstrate the knock in of double-stranded DNA donor templates into different endogenous loci, enabling the study of the physiological interplay of cellular and viral components at single-cell resolution. Together, this technique allows improved molecular and functional characterizations of HIV biology and general immune functions in resting CD4+ T cells.


Rapid, efficient and activation-neutral gene editing of polyclonal primary human resting CD4+ T cells allows complex functional analyses.
Albanese M, Ruhle A, Mittermaier J, Mejías-Pérez E, Gapp M, Linder A, Schmacke NA, Hofmann K, Hennrich AA, Levy DN, Humpe A, Conzelmann KK, Hornung V, Fackler OT, Keppler OT.
Nat Methods. 2022 Jan;19(1):81-89.