HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, has an extensive repertoire of tricks that it uses to evade, manipulate, and subvert the human immune system. Perhaps most insidious is the virus’s ability to turn the immune system’s defensive tactics to its own advantage. For example, HIV-1 uses a type of immune cell, the dendritic cell (DC), to spread infection.
Mature DCs recognize sialic acid–containing glycolipids (gangliosides) present in the HIV’s lipid envelope. New research show that the sialic acid–containing molecule Siglec-1 promotes both virus uptake and transmission to T cells. Future work may point the way towards therapeutic interventions against HIV and viruses that use similar infection strategies.
PLOS Biology: http://www.plosbiology.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pbio.1001454
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