Current HIV/AIDS Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 39–48 | Cite as

Tools for Visualizing HIV in Cure Research

  • Julia Niessl
  • Amy E. Baxter
  • Daniel E. Kaufmann
HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment (AL Landay and N Utay, Section Editors)
Part of the following topical collections:
  1. Topical Collection on HIV Pathogenesis and Treatment


Purpose of Review

The long-lived HIV reservoir remains a major obstacle for an HIV cure. Current techniques to analyze this reservoir are generally population-based. We highlight recent developments in methods visualizing HIV, which offer a different, complementary view, and provide indispensable information for cure strategy development.

Recent Findings

Recent advances in fluorescence in situ hybridization techniques enabled key developments in reservoir visualization. Flow cytometric detection of HIV mRNAs, concurrently with proteins, provides a high-throughput approach to study the reservoir on a single-cell level. On a tissue level, key spatial information can be obtained detecting viral RNA and DNA in situ by fluorescence microscopy. At total-body level, advancements in non-invasive immuno-positron emission tomography (PET) detection of HIV proteins may allow an encompassing view of HIV reservoir sites.


HIV imaging approaches provide important, complementary information regarding the size, phenotype, and localization of the HIV reservoir. Visualizing the reservoir may contribute to the design, assessment, and monitoring of HIV cure strategies in vitro and in vivo.


HIV cure In situ hybridization (ISH) Flow cytometry Microscopy RNA flow Viral reservoir Positron emission tomography (PET) 



Figure 1 has been adapted using images from Servier Medical Art (

Funding Information

This work was supported by National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants RO1 HL-092565 (D.E.K); NIAID UM1AI100663 (CHAVI-ID) (D.E.K; Dennis Burton, principal investigator), and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research (project grant # 377124: D.E.K). AEB is the recipient of a CIHR Postdoctoral Fellowship (award no. 152536); DEK is supported by a FRQS Senior Research Scholar Award (award no. 31035).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Julia Niessl
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amy E. Baxter
    • 1
    • 2
  • Daniel E. Kaufmann
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Centre de Recherche du Centre Hospitalier de l’Université de Montréal (CRCHUM)MontrealCanada
  2. 2.Scripps Center for HIV/AIDS Vaccine Immunology and Immunogen Discovery (CHAVI-ID)La JollaUSA

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