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J Exp Med. 1997 Jul 7;186(1):139-46.

HIV coreceptor downregulation as antiviral principle: SDF-1alpha-dependent internalization of the chemokine receptor CXCR4 contributes to inhibition of HIV replication.

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Unité d'Immunologie Virale, Institut Pasteur, 75724 Paris, Cedex 15, France.


Ligation of CCR5 by the CC chemokines RANTES, MIP-1alpha or MIP-1beta, and of CXCR4 by the CXC chemokine SDF-1alpha, profoundly inhibits the replication of HIV strains that use these coreceptors for entry into CD4(+) T lymphocytes. The mechanism of entry inhibition is not known. We found a rapid and extensive downregulation of CXCR4 by SDF-1alpha and of CCR5 by RANTES or the antagonist RANTES(9-68). Confocal laser scanning microscopy showed that CCR5 and CXCR4, after binding to their ligands, are internalized into vesicles that qualify as early endosomes as indicated by colocalization with transferrin receptors. Internalization was not affected by treatment with Bordetella pertussis toxin, showing that it is independent of signaling via Gi-proteins. Removal of SDF-1alpha led to rapid, but incomplete surface reexpression of CXCR4, a process that was not inhibited by cycloheximide, suggesting that the coreceptor is recycling from the internalization pool. Deletion of the COOH-terminal, cytoplasmic domain of CXCR4 did not affect HIV entry, but prevented SDF-1alpha-induced receptor downregulation and decreased the potency of SDF-1alpha as inhibitor of HIV replication. Our results indicate that the ability of the coreceptor to internalize is not required for HIV entry, but contributes to the HIV suppressive effect of CXC and CC chemokines.

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