Virus infection of dendritic cells: portal for host invasion and host defense

Trends Microbiol. 2004 Jul;12(7):337-45. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2004.05.003.


Dendritic cells (DCs) act as a portal for virus invasion and as the most potent antigen-presenting cells in antiviral host defense. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-1 has served as the paradigm for virus interaction with DCs. HIV-1 infection of DCs via its primary CD4 receptor and secondary chemokine receptors leads to full virus replication (cis infection), whereas binding to C-type lectin receptors results both in cis replication, as well as transfer and replication of virus in CD4(pos) T cells (trans infection). DCs respond to this invasion by processing viral proteins through MHC class I and II pathways and undergoing a maturation that enhances their presentation of antigen to T cells for induction of adaptive antiviral immunity. HIV-1 and other viruses have evolved mechanisms to subvert this immune function. Engineering of DCs with various forms of viral immunogens and co-treatment with cytokines and chemokines is being used as an immunotherapy for HIV-1 and other viral infections.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen Presentation
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology
  • HIV-1 / pathogenicity
  • HIV-1 / physiology
  • Hepatitis Viruses / immunology
  • Hepatitis Viruses / pathogenicity
  • Hepatitis Viruses / physiology
  • Herpesviridae / immunology
  • Herpesviridae / pathogenicity
  • Herpesviridae / physiology
  • Humans
  • Measles virus / growth & development
  • Measles virus / immunology
  • Measles virus / pathogenicity
  • Receptors, Virus / physiology*
  • Virus Physiological Phenomena*
  • Viruses / immunology
  • Viruses / pathogenicity


  • Receptors, Virus