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J Exp Med. 2001 Mar 19;193(6):671-8.

A dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN)-related protein is highly expressed on human liver sinusoidal endothelial cells and promotes HIV-1 infection.

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  • 1Laboratory of Genomic Diversity, Science Applications International Corporation-Frederick, Frederick, MD 21702, USA.


The discovery of dendritic cell (DC)-specific intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN) as a DC-specific ICAM-3 binding receptor that enhances HIV-1 infection of T cells in trans has indicated a potentially important role for adhesion molecules in AIDS pathogenesis. A related molecule called DC-SIGNR exhibits 77% amino acid sequence identity with DC-SIGN. The DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR genes map within a 30-kb region on chromosome 19p13.2-3. Their strong homology and close physical location indicate a recent duplication of the original gene. Messenger RNA and protein expression patterns demonstrate that the DC-SIGN-related molecule is highly expressed on liver sinusoidal cells and in the lymph node but not on DCs, in contrast to DC-SIGN. Therefore, we suggest that a more appropriate name for the DC-SIGN-related molecule is L-SIGN, liver/lymph node-specific ICAM-3-grabbing nonintegrin. We show that in the liver, L-SIGN is expressed by sinusoidal endothelial cells. Functional studies indicate that L-SIGN behaves similarly to DC-SIGN in that it has a high affinity for ICAM-3, captures HIV-1 through gp120 binding, and enhances HIV-1 infection of T cells in trans. We propose that L-SIGN may play an important role in the interaction between liver sinusoidal endothelium and trafficking lymphocytes, as well as function in the pathogenesis of HIV-1.

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