Human Immunodeficiency Virus Immune Cell Receptors, Coreceptors, and Cofactors: Implications for Prevention and Treatment

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Abstract

In the last three decades, extensive research on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) has highlighted its capability to exploit a variety of strategies to enter and infect immune cells. Although CD4+ T cells are well known as the major HIV target, with infection occurring through the canonical combination of the cluster of differentiation 4 (CD4) receptor and either the C-C chemokine receptor type 5 (CCR5) or C-X-C chemokine receptor type 4 (CXCR4) coreceptors, HIV has also been found to enter other important immune cell types such as macrophages, dendritic cells, Langerhans cells, B cells, and granulocytes. Interestingly, the expression of distinct cellular cofactors partially regulates the rate in which HIV infects each distinct cell type. Furthermore, HIV can benefit from the acquisition of new proteins incorporated into its envelope during budding events. While several publications have investigated details of how HIV manipulates particular cell types or subtypes, an up-to-date comprehensive review on HIV tropism for different immune cells is lacking. Therefore, this review is meant to focus on the different receptors, coreceptors, and cofactors that HIV exploits to enter particular immune cells. Additionally, prophylactic approaches that have targeted particular molecules associated with HIV entry and infection of different immune cells will be discussed. Unveiling the underlying cellular receptors and cofactors that lead to HIV preference for specific immune cell populations is crucial in identifying novel preventative/therapeutic targets for comprehensive strategies to eliminate viral infection.

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