DC-SIGNR is a human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-binding C-type lectin that is expressed on endothelium in the hepatic sinusoids, lymph node sinuses and placenta. Like closely related DC-SIGN, DC-SIGNR can bind both ICAM-3 and HIV and can potentiate HIV infection of T lymphocytes in trans. In the present study we have investigated reasons underlying the restricted distribution of DC-SIGNR and have examined DC-SIGNR expression in relation to HIV entry receptors. We show that DC-SIGNR expression does not depend on endothelial cell specialization or on activation state. DC-SIGNR-positive endothelium continues to express DC-SIGNR in conditions of hyperplasia, whereas the molecule is lost after neoplastic transformation, most likely as a result of changes in the microenvironment of the endothelial cells. We have further shown that CCR5, but not CD4, is coexpressed with DC-SIGNR on hepatic sinusoidal and placental capillary endothelial cells. However, CD4-positive CCR5-positive cells, such as hepatic Kupffer cells, placental Hofbauer cells, and CD4-positive T lymphocytes in lymph nodes, can be found adjacent to DC-SIGNR-positive endothelium. Therefore, DC-SIGNR may be able to mediate HIV infection of these cells in trans. Finally, we demonstrate that DC-SIGN and DC-SIGNR can be coexpressed on lymph node sinus endothelial cells, which may lead to modulation of the function of both molecules.
Copyright 2002, Elsevier Science (USA). All rights reserved.