A small fraction of HIV-1-infected T cells forms populations of latently infected cells when they are a naive T-cell subset or in transit to a resting memory state. Latently HIV-1-infected cells reside in lymphoid tissues and serve as viral reservoirs. However, whether they systemically recirculate in the body and re-enter the lymphoid nodes are unknown. Here, we employed two in-vitro cell coculture systems mimicking the lymphatic endothelium in lymph nodes and investigated the homing potential, specifically the transendothelial migration (TEM), of two latently HIV-1-infected cell lines (J1.1 and ACH-2). In trans-well coculture systems, J1.1 and ACH-2 showed higher TEM efficiencies than their parental uninfected and acutely infected cells. The efficiency of TEM was enhanced by the presence of stromal cells, such as HS-5 and fibroblastic reticular cells. In an in-vitro reconstituted, three-dimensional coculture system in which stromal cells are embedded in collagen matrices, J1.1 showed slightly higher TEM efficiency in the presence of HS-5. In accordance with these phenotypes, latently infected cells adhered to the endothelial cells more efficiently than uninfected cells. Together, our study showed that latently HIV-1-infected cells enhanced cell adhesion and TEM abilities, suggesting their potential for efficient homing to lymph nodes.
Keywords: HIV-1; latent infection; lymphocyte homing; reconstitution; stromal cells; transmigration.