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Sci Rep. 2015 Nov 19;5:16833. doi: 10.1038/srep16833.

Slit2N Inhibits Transmission of HIV-1 from Dendritic Cells to T-cells by Modulating Novel Cytoskeletal Elements.

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Division of Experimental Medicine, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
DynaMed, EBSCO Information Services, 10 Estes Street, Ipswich, Massachusetts, USA.


Dendritic cells are among the first cells to encounter sexually acquired human immunodeficiency virus (HIV-1), in the mucosa, and they can transmit HIV-1 to CD4(+) T-cells via an infectious synapse. Recent studies reveal that actin-rich membrane extensions establish direct contact between cells at this synapse and facilitate virus transmission. Genesis of these contacts involves signaling through c-Src and Cdc42, which modulate actin polymerization and filopodia formation via the Arp2/3 complex and Diaphanous 2 (Diaph2). We found that Slit2N, a ligand for the Roundabout (Robo) receptors, blocked HIV-1-induced signaling through Arp2/3 and Diaph2, decreased filopodial extensions on dendritic cells, and inhibited cell-to-cell transmission of HIV-1 in a Robo1-dependent manner. Employing proteomic analysis, we identified Flightless-1 as a novel, Robo1-interacting protein. Treatment with shRNAs reduced levels of Flightless-1 and demonstrated its role in efficient cell-to-cell transfer of HIV-1. These results suggest a novel strategy to limit viral infection in the host by targeting the Slit/Robo pathway with modulation of cytoskeletal elements previously unrecognized in HIV-1 transmission.

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