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J Biophotonics. 2010 Apr;3(4):216-23. doi: 10.1002/jbio.200900102.

Manipulating CD4+ T cells by optical tweezers for the initiation of cell-cell transfer of HIV-1.

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  • 1NSF Center for Biophotonics Science and Technology, University of California-Davis, Sacramento, CA 95817, USA.


Cell-cell interactions through direct contact are very important for cellular communication and coordination - especially for immune cells. The human immunodeficiency virus type I (HIV-1) induces immune cell interactions between CD4(+) cells to shuttle between T cells via a virological synapse. A goal to understand the process of cell-cell transmission through virological synapses is to determine the cellular states that allow a chance encounter between cells to become a stable cell-cell adhesion. We demonstrate the use of optical tweezers to manipulate uninfected primary CD4(+) T cells near HIV Gag-iGFP transfected Jurkat T cells to probe the determinants that induce stable adhesion. When combined with fast 4D confocal fluorescence microscopy, optical tweezers can be utilized not only to facilitate cell-cell contact, but also to simultaneously track the formation of a virological synapse, and ultimately to probe the events that precede virus transfer.

((c) 2010 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim).

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