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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2012 Jun 12;109(24):9569-74. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1207314109. Epub 2012 May 29.

Identification of the platelet-derived chemokine CXCL4/PF-4 as a broad-spectrum HIV-1 inhibitor.

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  • 1Laboratory of Immunoregulation, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD 20892, USA.


The natural history of HIV-1 infection is highly variable in different individuals, spanning from a rapidly progressive course to a long-term asymptomatic infection. A major determinant of the pace of disease progression is the in vivo level of HIV-1 replication, which is regulated by a complex network of cytokines and chemokines expressed by immune and inflammatory cells. The chemokine system is critically involved in the control of HIV-1 replication by virtue of the role played by specific chemokine receptors, most notably CCR5 and CXCR4, as cell-surface coreceptors for HIV-1 entry; hence, the chemokines that naturally bind such coreceptors act as endogenous inhibitors of HIV-1. Here, we show that the CXC chemokine CXCL4 (PF-4), the most abundant protein contained within the α-granules of platelets, is a broad-spectrum inhibitor of HIV-1 infection. Unlike other known HIV-suppressive chemokines, CXCL4 inhibits infection by the majority of primary HIV-1 isolates regardless of their coreceptor-usage phenotype or genetic subtype. Consistent with the lack of viral phenotype specificity, blockade of HIV-1 infection occurs at the level of virus attachment and entry via a unique mechanism that involves direct interaction of CXCL4 with the major viral envelope glycoprotein, gp120. The binding site for CXCL4 was mapped to a region of the gp120 outer domain proximal to the CD4-binding site. The identification of a platelet-derived chemokine as an endogenous antiviral factor may have relevance for the pathogenesis and treatment of HIV-1 infection.

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