Human immunodeficiency virus fusion to dendritic cells declines as cells mature

J Virol. 2006 Feb;80(4):1992-9. doi: 10.1128/JVI.80.4.1992-1999.2006.


The maturation of dendritic cells (DCs) is associated with a diminished ability to support human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) replication; however, the precise step in the HIV life cycle impaired by DC maturation remains uncertain. Using an HIV virion-based fusion assay, we now show that HIV fusion to monocyte-derived DCs (MDDCs) both decreases and kinetically slows when DCs are induced to mature with poly(I:C) and tumor necrosis factor alpha. Specifically, laboratory-adapted CCR5-tropic 81A virions fused with markedly lower efficiency to mature MDDCs than immature DCs. In contrast, fusion of NL4-3, the isogenic CXCR4-tropic counterpart of 81A, was low in both immature and mature MDDCs. Fusion mediated by primary HIV envelopes, including seven CCR5- and four CXCR4-tropic envelopes, also decreased with DC maturation. The kinetics of virion fusion were also altered by both the state of DC maturation and the coreceptor utilized. Fusion of 81A and NL4-3 virions was delayed in mature compared to immature MDDCs, and NL4-3 fused more slowly than 81A in both mature and immature MDDCs. Surprisingly, primary envelopes with CXCR4 tropism mediated fusion to immature MDDCs with efficiencies similar to those of primary CCR5-tropic envelopes. This result contrasted with the marked preferential fusion of the laboratory-adapted 81A over NL4-3 in immature MDDCs and in ex vivo Langerhans cells, indicating that these laboratory-adapted HIV strains do not fully recapitulate all of the properties of primary HIV isolates. In conclusion, our results demonstrate that the defect in HIV replication observed in mature MDDCs stems at least in part from a decline in viral fusion.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cells, Cultured
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology*
  • Flow Cytometry
  • HIV / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Kinetics
  • Langerhans Cells / cytology
  • Langerhans Cells / virology
  • Receptors, CCR5 / physiology
  • Receptors, CXCR4 / physiology
  • Receptors, HIV / physiology
  • Virus Replication


  • Receptors, CCR5
  • Receptors, CXCR4
  • Receptors, HIV