Elucidating the Burden of HIV in Tissues Using Multiplexed Immunofluorescence and In Situ Hybridization: Methods for the Single-Cell Phenotypic Characterization of Cells Harboring HIV In Situ
J. J. Vasquez, R. Hussien, B. Aguilar-Rodriguez, H. Junger, D. Dobi, T. J. Henrich, C. Thanh, E. Gibson, L. E. Hogan, J. McCune, P. W. Hunt, C. A. Stoddart, Z. G. Laszik , Journal of Histochemistry & Cytochemistry , DOI: 10.1369/0022155418756848
Persistent tissue reservoirs of HIV present a major barrier to cure. Defining subsets of infected cells in tissues is a major focus of HIV cure research. Herein, we describe a novel multiplexed in situ hybridization (ISH) (RNAscope) protocol to detect HIV-DNA (vDNA) and HIV-RNA (vRNA) in formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded (FFPE) human tissues in combination with immunofluorescence (IF) phenotyping of the infected cells. We show that multiplexed IF and ISH (mIFISH) is suitable for quantitative assessment of HIV vRNA and vDNA and that multiparameter IF phenotyping allows precise identification of the cellular source of the ISH signal. We also provide semi-quantitative data on the impact of various tissue fixatives on the detectability of vDNA and vRNA with RNAscope technology. Finally, we describe methods to quantitate the ISH signal on whole-slide digital images and validation of the quantitative ISH data with quantitative real-time PCR for vRNA. It is our hope that this approach will provide insight into the biology of HIV tissue reservoirs and to inform strategies aimed at curing HIV.