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Immunol Lett. 2005 Mar 15;97(2):209-14. Epub 2004 Nov 28.

HIV and human complement: inefficient virolysis and effective adherence.

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Department of Hygiene, Microbiology and Social Medicine, Division of Hygiene and Medical Microbiology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria and Ludwig-Boltzmann-Institute for AIDS research, Fritz-Pregl-Str. 3., 6020 Innsbruck, Austria.


Both, HIV envelope proteins gp120 and gp41 can directly activate complement system, even in the absence of HIV-specific antibodies. During the budding process HIV acquires host membrane-associated molecules among these complement regulatory proteins (CRPs). The presence of CRPs on the viral surface rescues HIV from complement-mediated virolysis. The inefficient virolysis results in the deposition of complement-fragments on the viral surface allowing interactions of HIV with complement receptor expressing cells. In this review, the interaction of HIV with the complement system and the consequences of complement opsonisation on virus infection will be discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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