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Nat Med. 2003 Feb;9(2):191-7. Epub 2003 Jan 21.

HIV-1 Tat reprograms immature dendritic cells to express chemoattractants for activated T cells and macrophages.

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Department of Medicine, Children's Hospital, and Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.


Immature dendritic cells are among the first cells infected by retroviruses after mucosal exposure. We explored the effects of human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) and its Tat transactivator on these primary antigen-presenting cells using DNA microarray analysis and functional assays. We found that HIV-1 infection or Tat expression induces interferon (IFN)-responsive gene expression in immature human dendritic cells without inducing maturation. Among the induced gene products are chemokines that recruit activated T cells and macrophages, the ultimate target cells for the virus. Dendritic cells in the lymph nodes of macaques infected with simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) have elevated levels of monocyte chemoattractant protein 2 (MCP-2), demonstrating that chemokine induction also occurs during retroviral infection in vivo. These results show that HIV-1 Tat reprograms host dendritic cell gene expression to facilitate expansion of HIV-1 infection.

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