CD4 Receptor is a Key Determinant of Divergent HIV-1 Sensing by Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cells

PLoS Pathog. 2016 Apr 15;12(4):e1005553. doi: 10.1371/journal.ppat.1005553. eCollection 2016 Apr.


Plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDC) are innate immune cells that sense viral nucleic acids through endosomal Toll-like receptor (TLR) 7/9 to produce type I interferon (IFN) and to differentiate into potent antigen presenting cells (APC). Engagement of TLR7/9 in early endosomes appears to trigger the IRF7 pathway for IFN production whereas engagement in lysosomes seems to trigger the NF-κB pathway for maturation into APC. We showed previously that HIV-1 (HIV) localizes predominantly to early endosomes, not lysosomes, and mainly stimulate IRF7 rather than NF-κB signaling pathways in pDC. This divergent signaling may contribute to disease progression through production of pro-apoptotic and pro-inflammatory IFN and inadequate maturation of pDCs. We now demonstrate that HIV virions may be re-directed to lysosomes for NF-κB signaling by either pseudotyping HIV with influenza hemagglutinin envelope or modification of CD4 mediated-intracellular trafficking. These data suggest that HIV envelope-CD4 receptor interactions drive pDC activation toward an immature IFN producing phenotype rather than differentiation into a mature dendritic cell phenotype.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • CD4 Antigens / immunology*
  • Cell Differentiation / immunology*
  • Dendritic Cells / cytology
  • Dendritic Cells / immunology*
  • HIV Infections / immunology*
  • HIV-1 / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Microscopy, Confocal
  • Virion / immunology


  • CD4 Antigens