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Cell Microbiol. 2010 Nov;12(11):1553-61. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-5822.2010.01519.x. Epub 2010 Sep 20.

The multiple facets of HIV attachment to dendritic cell lectins.

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Institute of Virology, Hannover Medical School, 30625 Hannover, Germany.


Entry of enveloped viruses into host cells depends on the interactions of viral surface proteins with cell surface receptors. Many enveloped viruses maximize the efficiency of receptor engagement by first binding to attachment-promoting factors, which concentrate virions on target cells and thus increase the likelihood of subsequent receptor engagement. Cellular lectins can recognize glycans on viral surface proteins and mediate viral uptake into immune cells for subsequent antigen presentation. Paradoxically, many viral and non-viral pathogens target lectins to attach to immune cells and to subvert cellular functions to promote their spread. Thus, it has been proposed that attachment of HIV to the dendritic cell lectin DC-SIGN enables the virus to hijack cellular transport processes to ensure its transmission to adjacent T cells. However, recent studies show that the consequences of viral capture by immune cell lectins can be diverse, and can entail negative and positive regulation of viral spread. Here, we will describe key concepts proposed for the role of lectins in HIV attachment to host cells, and we will discuss recent findings in this rapidly evolving area of research.

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