Purpose of review: HIV-1 mucosal transmission plays a critical role in HIV-1 infection and AIDS pathogenesis. This review summarizes the latest advances in biological studies of HIV-1 mucosal transmission, highlighting the implications of these studies in the development of microbicides to prevent HIV-1 transmission.
Recent findings: New studies of initial HIV-1 infection using improved culture models updated the current view of mucosal transmission. Mechanistic studies enhanced our understanding of cell–cell transmission of HIV-1 mediated by the major target cells, including dendritic cells, CD4+ T cells, and macrophages. Increasing evidence indicated the significance of host factors and immune responses in HIV-1 mucosal infection and transmission.
Summary: Recent progress in HIV-1 mucosal infection and transmission enriches our knowledge of virus–host interactions and viral pathogenesis. Functional studies of HIV-1 interactions with host cells can provide new insights into the design of more effective approaches to combat HIV-1 infection and AIDS.