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PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e28014. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0028014. Epub 2011 Nov 22.

HIV gp120 binds to mannose receptor on vaginal epithelial cells and induces production of matrix metalloproteinases.

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1
Department of Biochemistry, National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health, Indian Council of Medical Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

During sexual transmission of HIV in women, the virus breaches the multi-layered CD4 negative stratified squamous epithelial barrier of the vagina, to infect the sub-epithelial CD4 positive immune cells. However the mechanisms by which HIV gains entry into the sub-epithelial zone is hitherto unknown. We have previously reported human mannose receptor (hMR) as a CD4 independent receptor playing a role in HIV transmission on human spermatozoa. The current study was undertaken to investigate the expression of hMR in vaginal epithelial cells, its HIV gp120 binding potential, affinity constants and the induction of matrix metalloproteinases (MMPs) downstream of HIV gp120 binding to hMR.

PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:

Human vaginal epithelial cells and the immortalized vaginal epithelial cell line Vk2/E6E7 were used in this study. hMR mRNA and protein were expressed in vaginal epithelial cells and cell line, with a molecular weight of 155 kDa. HIV gp120 bound to vaginal proteins with high affinity, (Kd = 1.2±0.2 nM for vaginal cells, 1.4±0.2 nM for cell line) and the hMR antagonist mannan dose dependently inhibited this binding. Both HIV gp120 binding and hMR exhibited identical patterns of localization in the epithelial cells by immunofluorescence. HIV gp120 bound to immunopurified hMR and affinity constants were 2.9±0.4 nM and 3.2±0.6 nM for vaginal cells and Vk2/E6E7 cell line respectively. HIV gp120 induced an increase in MMP-9 mRNA expression and activity by zymography, which could be inhibited by an anti-hMR antibody.

CONCLUSION:

hMR expressed by vaginal epithelial cells has high affinity for HIV gp120 and this binding induces production of MMPs. We propose that the induction of MMPs in response to HIV gp120 may lead to degradation of tight junction proteins and the extracellular matrix proteins in the vaginal epithelium and basement membrane, leading to weakening of the epithelial barrier; thereby facilitating transport of HIV across the vaginal epithelium.

PMID:
22132194
PMCID:
PMC3222676
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0028014
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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