HIV-1 Entry and Prospects for Protecting against Infection

Microorganisms. 2021 Jan 22;9(2):228. doi: 10.3390/microorganisms9020228.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus type-1 (HIV-1) establishes a latent viral reservoir soon after infection, which poses a major challenge for drug treatment and curative strategies. Many efforts are therefore focused on blocking infection. To this end, both viral and host factors relevant to the onset of infection need to be considered. Given that HIV-1 is most often transmitted mucosally, strategies designed to protect against infection need to be effective at mucosal portals of entry. These strategies need to contend also with cell-free and cell-associated transmitted/founder (T/F) virus forms; both can initiate and establish infection. This review will discuss how insight from the current model of HIV-1 mucosal transmission and cell entry has highlighted challenges in developing effective strategies to prevent infection. First, we examine key viral and host factors that play a role in transmission and infection. We then discuss preventive strategies based on antibody-mediated protection, with emphasis on targeting T/F viruses and mucosal immunity. Lastly, we review treatment strategies targeting viral entry, with focus on the most clinically advanced entry inhibitors.

Keywords: entry inhibitor; mucosal transmission; neutralizing antibody; transmitted/founder virus; viral entry.

Publication types

  • Review