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Immunity. 2002 Jan;16(1):135-44.

DC-SIGN-mediated internalization of HIV is required for trans-enhancement of T cell infection.

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Molecular Pathogenesis Program, Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA.


Fusion of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) to the plasma membrane of target cells is mediated by interaction of its envelope glycoprotein, gp120, with CD4 and appropriate chemokine receptors. gp120 additionally binds to DC-SIGN, a C-type lectin expressed on immature dendritic cells. This interaction does not result in viral fusion, but instead contributes to enhanced infection in trans of target cells that express CD4 and chemokine receptors. Here we show that DC-SIGN mediates rapid internalization of intact HIV into a low pH nonlysosomal compartment. Internalized virus retains competence to infect target cells. Removal of the DC-SIGN cytoplasmic tail reduced viral uptake and abrogated the trans-enhancement of T cell infection. We propose that HIV binds to DC-SIGN to gain access to an intracellular compartment that contributes to augmentation or retention of viral infectivity.

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