Non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors (NNRTIs) induce pyroptosis of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells through induction of intracellular HIV-1 protease activity, which activates the CARD8 inflammasome. Because high concentrations of NNRTIs are required for efficient elimination of HIV-1-infected cells, it is important to elucidate ways to sensitize the CARD8 inflammasome to NNRTI-induced activation. We show that this sensitization can be achieved through chemical inhibition of the CARD8 negative regulator DPP9. The DPP9 inhibitor Val-boroPro (VbP) can kill HIV-1-infected cells without the presence of NNRTIs and act synergistically with NNRTIs to promote clearance of HIV-1-infected cells in vitro and in humanized mice. More importantly, VbP is able to enhance clearance of residual HIV-1 in CD4+ T cells isolated from people living with HIV (PLWH). We also show that VbP can partially overcome NNRTI resistance. This offers a promising strategy for enhancing NNRTI efficacy in the elimination of HIV-1 reservoirs in PLWH. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-439
Number of pages9
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2023


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