The immunoregulatory effects of HIV-1 Nef on dendritic cells and the pathogenesis of AIDS

FASEB J. 2006 Nov;20(13):2198-208. doi: 10.1096/fj.06-6260rev.


Dendritic cells (DC) play a crucial role in the generation and regulation of immunity, and their interaction with HIV is relevant in the pathogenesis of AIDS favoring both the initial establishment and spread of the infection and the development of antiviral immunity. HIV-1 Nef is an essential factor for efficient viral replication and pathogenesis, and several studies have been addressed to assess the possible influence of endogenous or exogenous Nef on DC biology. Our findings and other reported data described in this review demonstrate that Nef subverts DC biology interfering with phenotypical, morphological, and functional DC developmental programs, thus representing a viral tool underlying AIDS pathogenesis. This review provides an overview on the mechanism by which Nef, hijacking DC functional activity, may favor both the replication of HIV-1 and the escape from immune surveillance. Overall, the findings described here may contribute to the understanding of Nef function, mechanism of action, and cellular partners. Further elucidation of genes induced through Nef signaling in DC could reveal pathways used by DC to drive HIV spread and will be critical to identify therapeutic strategies to bias the DC system toward activation of antiviral immunity instead of facilitating virus dissemination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / immunology*
  • CD4-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • CD8-Positive T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / virology
  • Gene Products, nef / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus


  • Gene Products, nef
  • nef Gene Products, Human Immunodeficiency Virus