MHC-I-restricted presentation of HIV-1 virion antigens without viral replication

Nat Med. 2001 Mar;7(3):344-9. doi: 10.1038/85493.


Dendritic cells and macrophages can process extracellular antigens for presentation by MHC-I molecules. This exogenous pathway may have a crucial role in the activation of CD8+ cytotoxic T lymphocytes during human viral infections. We show here that HIV-1 epitopes derived from incoming virions are presented through the exogenous MHC-I pathway in primary human dendritic cells, and to a lower extent in macrophages, leading to cytotoxic T-lymphocyte activation in the absence of viral protein synthesis. Exogenous antigen presentation required adequate virus-receptor interactions and fusion of viral and cellular membranes. These results provide new insights into how anti-HIV cytotoxic T lymphocytes can be activated and have implications for anti-HIV vaccine design.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Cross Reactions
  • Epitopes / immunology
  • HIV Antigens / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Virion / immunology*
  • Virus Replication*


  • Epitopes
  • HIV Antigens
  • Histocompatibility Antigens Class I