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Trends Microbiol. 2004 Jul;12(7):337-45.

Virus infection of dendritic cells: portal for host invasion and host defense.

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Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology and Department of Pathology, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA.

Erratum in

  • Trends Microbiol. 2004 Nov;12(11):483.


Dendritic cells (DCs) act as a portal for virus invasion and as the most potent antigen-presenting cells in antiviral host defense. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 has served as the paradigm for virus interaction with DCs. HIV-1 infection of DCs via its primary CD4 receptor and secondary chemokine receptors leads to full virus replication (cis infection), whereas binding to C-type lectin receptors results both in cis replication, as well as transfer and replication of virus in CD4(pos) T cells (trans infection). DCs respond to this invasion by processing viral proteins through MHC class I and II pathways and undergoing a maturation that enhances their presentation of antigen to T cells for induction of adaptive antiviral immunity. HIV-1 and other viruses have evolved mechanisms to subvert this immune function. Engineering of DCs with various forms of viral immunogens and co-treatment with cytokines and chemokines is being used as an immunotherapy for HIV-1 and other viral infections.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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