Purpose of review: Myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) are pivotal players in HIV-1 infection. They promote transmission and spread and at the same time are critical for recognizing HIV-1 and initiating immune responses to fight infection. Notably, their immunostimulatory capabilities can be harnessed to design better HIV-1 vaccines. In this review, advances in these areas of mDC–HIV-1 interactions are summarized.
Recent findings: New insights into HIV-1-induced dysfunction of mDCs and dysfunctional mDC effects on other cell types, as well as novel mechanisms of viral sensing by mDCs and their evasion by HIV-1, have been uncovered. These results emphasize the importance of mDCs in protection against HIV-1 infection. Targeting mDCs with vaccines and tailored adjuvants may improve the quality and anatomical location of elicited immune responses.
Summary: Understanding the multiplicity of HIV-1–dendritic cell interactions together with the numerous advances in targeted therapy and vaccination will help in the rational design of approaches to treat and block infection.