Substantial efforts to eliminate or reduce latent HIV-1 reservoirs are underway in clinical trials and have created a critical demand for sensitive, accurate, and reproducible tools to evaluate the efficacy of these strategies. Alternative reservoir quantification assays have been developed to circumvent limitations of the quantitative viral outgrowth assay. One such assay is tat/rev induced limiting dilution assay (TILDA), which measures the frequency of CD4+ T cells harboring inducible latent HIV-1 provirus. We modified pre-amplification reagents and conditions (TILDA v2.0) to improve assay execution and first internally validated assay performance using CD4+ T cells obtained from cART-suppressed HIV-1-infected individuals. Detection of tat/rev multiply spliced RNA was not altered by modifying pre-amplification conditions, confirming the robustness of the assay, and supporting the technique’s amenability to limited modifications to ensure better implementation for routine use in clinical studies of latent HIV-1 reservoirs. Furthermore, we cross-validated results of TILDA v2.0 and the original assay performed in two separate laboratories using samples from 15 HIV-1-infected individuals. TILDA and TILDA v2.0 showed a strong correlation (Lin’s Concordance Correlation Coefficient = 0.86). The low inter-laboratory variability between TILDAs performed at different institutes further supports use of TILDA for reservoir quantitation in multi-center interventional HIV-1 Cure trials.

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Keywords HIV-1 latency, reservoir quantification, inducible reservoirs, TILDA, assay performance
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Journal Viruses
Lungu, C., Procopio, F.A., Overmars, R.J., Beerkens, R.J.J., Voermans, J, Rao, S., … van Kampen, J.J.A. (2020). Inter-Laboratory Reproducibility of Inducible HIV-1 Reservoir Quantification by TILDA. Viruses, 12(9). doi:10.3390/v12090973