Send to

Choose Destination
Viruses. 2010 May 1;2(5):1239-60. doi: 10.3390/v2051239.

HIV-1 Virological Synapse is not Simply a Copycat of the Immunological Synapse.

Author information

Program in Molecular Pathogenesis, Martin and Helen Kimmel Center for Biology and Medicine, Skirball Institute for Biomolecular Medicine, New York University School of Medicine, New York, NY 10016, USA;


The virological synapse (VS) is a tight adhesive junction between an HIV-infected cell and an uninfected target cell, across which virus can be efficiently transferred from cell to cell in the absence of cell-cell fusion. The VS has been postulated to resemble, in its morphology, the well-studied immunological synapse (IS). This review article discusses the structural similarities between IS and VS and the shared T cell receptor (TCR) signaling components that are found in the VS. However, the IS and the VS display distinct kinetics in disassembly and intracellular signaling events, possibly leading to different biological outcomes. Hence, HIV-1 exploits molecular components of IS and TCR signaling machinery to trigger unique changes in cellular morphology, migration, and activation that facilitate its transmission and cell-to-cell spread.


CD4 T lymphocyte; HIV; HIV envelope; HIV-1; T cell receptor; gp120; immunological synapse; virological synapse

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center