E-101 Extracellular vesicles released by HIV-1 infected cells carry viral proteins and facilitate HIV infection of human lymphoid tissue

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It is well established that various cells in vivo and in vitro release extracellular vesicles (EVs), small phospholipid membrane-enclosed entities. Not long ago, EVs were considered to be “cellular dust” or garbage and did not attract much attention. However, they are now central to research in many fields of biology because they seem to constitute a new system of cell–cell communication. Physical and chemical characteristics of many EVs, as well as their biogenesis pathways, resemble those of retroviruses, in particular of HIV and EVs can incorporate viral components. We studied EVs generated by HIV infected cells and the effect of these EVs on HIV infection. Using tetraspanins that EVs shared with HIV, we captured both HIV virions and EVs with magnetic nanoparticles coupled to specific anti-tetraspanin antibodies and identified EVs by the presence of either CD45 or acetylcholinesterase, since virions do not incorporate these antigens. We found that approximately 30% of the EVs released by HIV-1 infected cells were positive for HIV-1 Env. Our experiments on depletion of HIV-1 preparation of EVs indicate that these EVs may facilitate HIV infection.

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