Skip Navigation LinksHome > September 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 5 > Myeloid dendritic cells in HIV-1 infection
Current Opinion in HIV & AIDS:
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e3283499d63
Innate immunity: Edited by William A. Paxton and Teunis B.H. Geijtenbeek

Myeloid dendritic cells in HIV-1 infection

Derby, Nina; Martinelli, Elena; Robbiani, Melissa

Free Access
Article Outline
Collapse Box

Author Information

Center for Biomedical Research, Population Council, New York, New York, USA

Correspondence to Melissa Robbiani, Senior Scientist and Director of Biomedical HIV Research, Center for Biomedical Research, HIV and AIDS Program, Population Council, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USATel: +1 212 327 7794; fax: +1 212 327 7764; e-mail:

Collapse Box


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.

Back to Top | Article Outline


Dendritic cells orchestrate innate and adaptive immune responses to infection. There are two major subtypes of human dendritic cells: myeloid dendritic cells (mDCs) and plasmacytoid dendritic cells (pDCs). Unlike pDCs, which primarily drive innate inflammatory responses to pathogens by secreting large amounts of interferon-α (IFN-α), mDCs are specialized for antigen presentation to direct adaptive responses. Residing at mucosal surfaces and skin (CD11c+ mDCs, Langerhans cells, and CD209+ dermal/submucosal dendritic cells), they are sentinels to detect invading pathogens and are among the first leukocytes to encounter HIV-1 during sexual transmission [1]. Immature and mature mDCs capture and internalize virus, and immature mDCs are also infected by HIV-1 at a low level [2]. Direct transfer of captured and newly produced virus from mDCs to CD4+ T cells promotes infection and spread [2].

Understanding how mDCs recognize and respond to HIV-1 is critical for improving antiviral approaches. Although HIV-1 subverts and manipulates signaling to favor viral replication [3], it may be possible to tip the balance towards an antiviral state through proper mDC activation. This review will cover recent advances in the dual roles of mDCs as pathogenic and protective in HIV-1 infection, as well as innovative strategies to harness them for prevention and therapy. Studies of primary mDCs and Langerhans cells will be discussed alongside the results obtained using the monocyte-derived dendritic cell (moDC) model.

Back to Top | Article Outline

HIV-1 modulation of myeloid dendritic cell function

Impaired mDC function is a critical component of HIV-1 infection affecting most compartments of the immune system [4]. Abundant data indicate a loss of CD11c+ mDCs from the blood of HIV-1 infected patients [5], yet the primary reason for this loss remains elusive. Depletion of circulating mDCs is detected during primary and chronic infection, and there continue to be reports on the ability of antiretroviral therapy (ART) to restore mDC numbers and function [6,7••,8•]. Macaque data show that loss of blood mDCs at virus set-point predicts disease progression, whereas an increase predicts long term absence of disease [7••]. However, these findings are not clearly correlated with viral load or CD4+ T-cell counts [6,7••]. Disappearance of mDCs from blood can be partially explained by accumulation in lymph nodes [7••], which seems to be offset by loss because of apoptosis during acute and chronic infection [7••,8•]. The expression of the antiapoptotic factor BCL-2 and the frequency of Caspase3+ mDCs are decreased and increased, respectively, in HIV-1 chronic infection patients [8•].

Together with fueling infection by transferring virus to CD4+ T cells, mDCs can be infected by HIV-1 [2]. The substantial viral burden sustained by circulating mDCs in untreated patients [9] and the relatively long half-life of HIV-1 infected mDCs suggest a possible role in latency [10•].

Earlier studies demonstrated varying effects of chronic HIV-1 infection on mDCs [4,5]. Recent studies have focused on acute infection, revealing that despite their early reduction in circulation, the remaining mDCs display hyperfunctionality and can stimulate allogeneic T-cell responses [11••], possibly contributing to chronic immune activation and T-cell exhaustion. In fact, acute macaque SIV infection is associated with increased expression of a ligand for PD-1 (B7-H1) on mDCs which persists and correlates with PD-1 expression on T cells and impaired virus-specific T helper (Th) and cytotoxic T-lymphocyte (CTL) functions [12•]. Moreover, mDCs from HIV-1 infected individuals upregulate the expression of PD-1 on co-cultured T cells, inhibiting T-cell activation and proliferation [13]. MoDCs generated from HIV-1-infected individuals exhibit a reduced ability to stimulate T cells and are altered in their production of IL-12 and IL-10 [6,14]. Many questions remain regarding the mechanism of mDC dysfunction and the relative contributions of direct HIV-1 infection vs. exposure to viral products or even indirect effects by CD4+ T-cell dysregulation.

HIV-1-mediated mDC dysfunction also impacts the initiation of effective immune responses by other cell types. Direct infection of mDCs and interaction of mDCs with HIV-1 particles disrupts mDC–NK cross-talk, resulting in decreased natural killer (NK)-cell activation and lytic activity [4]. Both mDCs and moDCs derived from HIV-1-infected people are impaired in their ability to stimulate NK activity through poly(IC) [15], though they can still induce IFN-γ secretion by NK cells when activated with LPS [6]. The impact of ART on mDC differentiation and the resulting aberrant mDC–NK communication may actually suppress hyperimmune activation related disease [16]. A role for HIV-1-induced mDC dysfunction in B-cell disease has been attributed to increased expression of B-lymphocyte stimulator and B-cell growth factors during acute and chronic infection [17].

mDCs are essential in shaping the mucosal microenvironment and vice-versa. Interaction with other pathogens or pathogen-derived products results in dysfunctional dendritic cell activation, which can contribute to creating a tolerogenic environment and increase the number of susceptible target cells [18•,19••] at the initial stages of HIV-1 infection. HSV-2 infection is linked to HIV-1 acquisition epidemiologically [20] and mechanistically by recruitment of activated CD4+ T cells to sites of HSV-2-induced ulceration and the persistence of target cells at healed lesion sites following antiviral therapy [21]. HSV-2 has been shown to mature epidermal CD1a+ Langerhans cells and decrease the expression of CD207/Langerin [18•], which was associated with enhanced HIV-1 infection of Langerhans cells and transmission to CD4+ T cells. Similar effects were achieved using live or UV-inactivated HSV-2, as well as an unrelated dendritic cell maturation stimulus, poly(IC) [18•]. We have demonstrated a direct link between HSV-2 infection of moDCs and increased HIV-1 replication in the dendritic cell–T-cell milieu [19••]. Specifically, HSV-2-infected moDCs induced a retinoic-acid-dependent increase in α4β7 expression by CD4+ T cells and HIV-1 replication in dendritic cell–T-cell mixtures. This coincided with HSV-2-infected dendritic cells expressing more aldehyde dehydrogenase ALDH1A, which is essential for retinoic acid production. Moreover, elevated percentages of α4β7highCD4+ T cells were detected in the rectal mucosa, draining lymph nodes, and blood of macaques rectally infected with HSV-2, even in the absence of obvious lesions. This further supports the role for α4β7 in facilitating mucosal HIV-1 infection [22•], especially in the presence of HSV-2, and emphasizes that mDCs are central to this biology. Importantly, blocking α4β7 was also shown to limit acute SIV infection [23]. Key aspects of the microenvironment that favor protection vs. pathogenesis remain to be addressed.

The importance of mDC dysfunction in HIV-1 pathogenesis is underscored by findings from HIV-2, which is highly attenuated in comparison to HIV-1. Although there are no published reports on mDC numbers in HIV-2-infected patients, pDC loss has been reported [24], suggesting that dendritic cell preservation may not be a factor in the attenuated phenotype. However, mDCs are less susceptible to HIV-2 infection than HIV-1 in vitro[25], which may have implications for differences in latency or other aspects of disease progression. An important distinction between the viruses has been uncovered with respect to virus transfer between mDCs and CD4+ T cells. HIV-1 can be transferred across the immunological synapse, a part of the normal communication to promote an adaptive immune response. In contrast, HIV-2 Nef has been shown to block immunological synapse formation by downregulating the TCR–CD3 complex [26], potentially limiting T-cell activation and thereby reducing virus amplification. Although HIV-1 Nef is known to hijack mDC functional activity, which may favor both infection and escape from immune surveillance [27], it does not modulate the formation of the immunological synapse, thereby promoting rapid systemic viremia. HIV-2 env also has no effect on the differentiation or maturation of moDCs [28], whereas the interaction of HIV-1 env with CD4 on mDCs impairs mDC responses to TLR ligands, secretion of cytokines and chemokines, and contributes to reducing proper activation of other cell types [4,29]. More studies of the impairment of mDC function in pathogenic vs. attenuated or nonpathogenic (e.g. HIV-2 and SIV in natural hosts) infections will be crucial to understanding this biology and may lead to novel treatment strategies.

Box 1
Box 1
Image Tools
Back to Top | Article Outline

Sentinel role of myeloid dendritic cells and HIV-1 evasion

The profusion of strategies employed by HIV-1 to dysregulate mDC function underscores the significance of these cells in initiating effective immune responses. Normally, pathogen encounters stimulate mDCs through the triggering of their pattern-recognition receptors (PRRs) by pathogen-associated molecular patterns [30]. The cells migrate to secondary lymphoid organs where they present antigens to naive T cells and initiate specific responses. Although signaling through PRRs is critical to effective antiviral immunity [31], a growing body of evidence demonstrates that HIV-1 manipulates this signaling to favor its survival.

Several PRRs sense incoming RNA viruses, including TLRs, cytosolic helicases, and C-type lectins. TLR3, RIG-I, and MDA5 all recognize double-stranded RNA (dsRNA), whereas TLR7/8 and RIG-I sense single-stranded RNA (ssRNA) through different mechanisms [30]. CD207 and CD209 recognize HIV-1 with dissimilar outcomes. Unlike CD207, CD209 can promote HIV-1 transfer to CD4+ T cells [3]. Glycoproteins have been identified in breast milk and seminal plasma that compete for HIV-1 binding to CD209 and block virus transfer [32,33]. MoDCs express TLR8, and viral hijacking of TLR8 signaling may be involved in the lack of mDC responsiveness to HIV-1 in vitro and in vivo[10•,34•]. HIV-1 reportedly can signal through TLR8 in moDCs, as well as blood and dermal mDCs, engaging nuclear factor-κB (NF-κB) to initiate transcription from integrated provirus [34•]. Transcription elongation is then facilitated by the interaction of CD209 with gp120, which induces NF-κB phosphorylation by Raf-1 kinase [34•]. TLR8 signaling through NF-κB also activates latent HIV-1 in mDCs from infected patients [10•].

Another explanation for the absence of strong anti-HIV-1 immunity in mDCs is the fact that HIV-1 does not replicate efficiently in these cells (although this is overcome at high inocula [35]), so maturation and type I IFN production are not readily induced [36,37••]. Although HIV-1 infection of moDCs does not induce type I or II IFN, a specific unusual group of IFN-stimulated genes is induced [38] including marked upregulation of IRF1, which is suspected to promote HIV-1 replication as the LTR of most isolates contains an IRF-1/7 binding site [37••]. Poor HIV-1 replication in mDCs has been attributed to the lack of the accessory protein, Vpx, in the genome [39••,40••,41•]. An antiretroviral protein, SAMHD1, was shown to restrict HIV-1 infection of myeloid lineage cells during reverse transcription, and this was countered by the introduction of Vpx, which induced proteasomal degradation of SAMHD1 [40••]. By providing Vpx-mediated relief to this restriction in trans (using a VSV-G pseudotyped HIV-1 plus SIV virus-like particle co-infection system) and enhancing HIV-1 replication in moDCs, moDCs were found to upregulate CD86 and produce type I IFN [39••]. The potent innate response in these infected moDCs was mediated by the interaction of cellular cyclophilin A with the newly produced capsid through IRF3, which is an essential transcription factor in the pathway by which viruses and the synthetic dsRNA molecule poly(IC) induce IFNα/β [30]. These data support other findings that HIV-1 inhibits IRF3 activation in moDCs [37••] and that IRF3 is important in pDC recognition of HIV-1 infected lymphocytes [42]. Additionally, HIV-1 engineered to package and produce Vpx has been shown to replicate more efficiently in and induce a potent type I IFN response by moDCs, while also being more readily transmitted from moDCs to CD4+ T cells than wild-type virus [41•]. Together, these studies show that while ligation of PRRs should induce potent antiviral responses, HIV-1 either subverts or co-opts the first-line defense to favor viral replication and spread.

APOBEC3G (A3G) is an innate intracellular defense against HIV-1, which is induced by type I IFN and poly(IC) in mDCs and CD4+ T cells [43]. In a study of SIV-infected macaques, A3G expression in mDCs and CD4+ T cells was inversely correlated with viral load [44]. In moDCs, A3G activation was accompanied by the expression of small proteins that cross-react with A3G antiserum [45], which have been since identified as APOBEC3A (A3A; in primary monocytes and macrophages [46] and in moDCs, N. Derby, M. Robbiani, unpublished observation). This agrees with the previous data implicating A3A in the resistance of monocytic lineage cells to HIV-1 infection [43]. Poly(IC) treatment impedes HIV-1 replication through type I IFN secretion and APOBEC induction in moDCs [45], in the dendritic cell–T-cell milieu (N. Derby, M. Robbiani, unpublished observation), and in lymphoid tissue stimulated ex vivo[47]. These findings contrast the aforementioned enhancement of HIV-1 infection in poly(IC)-matured Langerhans cells through CD207 downregulation [18•]. The timing of poly(IC) stimulation relative to virus exposure may play a role in these conflicting results. Alternatively, because poly(IC) can activate dendritic cells through TLR3, RIG-I, and MDA5 [30], it is possible that varying expression of PRRs by different dendritic cell (and other cell) subsets and/or the method of delivering poly(IC) to the cells may affect downstream signaling and lead to distinct outcomes in the context of HIV-1 infection. Further investigation is warranted to clarify the mechanisms behind PRR-related virus amplification vs. suppression.

Back to Top | Article Outline

Harnessing myeloid dendritic cells to boost anti-HIV-1 immunity

Although mDCs are dysregulated by HIV-1 to favor viral replication, proper stimulation can block infection of mDCs and interacting CD4+ T cells. PRR ligands represent novel strategies to prevent HIV-1 replication and aid in the induction of multifunctional antigen-specific cellular immunity [48]. Poly(IC) and poly ICLC (stabilized to resist primate serum nucleases) have shown promise as adjuvants for preventive and therapeutic immunization [49,50,51•,52]. Targeting vaccines to mDCs is being explored to elicit more effective responses. Although proteins do not efficiently elicit CTLs [48], immunogenicity can be improved by targeted antigen delivery to mDC antigen-uptake receptors specialized in cross-presentation [53,54]. A large body of work is accumulating on CD205/DEC-205 for delivery of HIV-1 antigens [53,55•]. Combining the DEC-gag immunogen (gag p24 incorporated into anti-CD205 antibody that targets the antigen to dendritic cells in mice) with poly ICLC and a DNA boost elicited potent CD4+ and CD8+ T-cell responses, coincident with the accumulation of antigen-specific CD8+ T cells at the challenge site and enhanced protection [55•]. The CD8+ T-cell response required CD40 expression on mDCs [55•], strengthening the association between mDC targeting of the antigen, the involvement of mDC maturation, and the observed T-cell responses to this vaccine. A parallel study demonstrated that Flt3L treatment significantly enhanced cross-presentation by the DEC-gag vaccine in mice [56]. mDC activation and mobilization by Flt3L was confirmed in SIV-infected and SHIV-infected macaques in the absence of any changes to viral load or CD4+ T-cell numbers [57], suggesting Flt3L could be added to mDC-targeting vaccines without creating a more permissive environment for the virus. Incorporation of CD40L into vaccines may also induce mDC activation and boost antigen-specific responses [58]. DEC-gag antibodies have now been optimized for humans [59••] and are moving into clinical trials for HIV-1 prevention [60]. The Phase one trial DCVax-001 is planned to evaluate safety and immunogenicity of DEC-gag co-administered with poly ICLC in HIV-1-negative individuals [60].

Peptides can also elicit mDC-mediated Th1 responses when properly delivered. In the ligand epitope antigen presentation system (LEAPS), peptides containing T-cell epitopes are rendered immunogenic by covalent linkage to a peptide with T-cell binding capability. LEAPS vaccines have demonstrated Th1-mediated protection against lethal HSV-1 challenge in mice [61•]. However, protection is actually mediated by mDCs. Immunization of mice with a peptide from gag p17 coupled to one from β2-microglobulin activated mDCs, inducing IL12p40 and p70 secretion, and promoted antigen-specific IFNγ production by splenic T cells [61•]. Ex vivo, the vaccine matured mouse bone marrow DC precursors [61•] and human monocytes [62] into IL-12-producing mDCs. Thus, LEAPS immunogens act both as antigen and adjuvant in the absence of a supplemental maturation stimulus, although the mDC responses are distinct from those induced by poly(IC); TNFα and IL6 are not induced by LEAPS [61•,62].

As potent antigen-presenting cells, mDCs can be loaded with antigen ex vivo and administered as preventive or therapeutic vaccines [63]. A recent study showed that the T-cell responses induced by gag mRNA-loaded moDCs were polyfunctional and exhibited a memory phenotype [64]. The safety, feasibility, and immunogenicity of this approach in combination with CD40L are being evaluated in preclinical studies in HIV-1-infected patients [65]. mDCs and Langerhans cells loaded with HIV-1 peptides also induce polyfunctional virus-specific CD8+ T-cell responses [66]. Antigen-loaded mDCs can be targeted to specific tissues. A recent study in mice found that silencing the ubiquitin-editing enzyme A20, an inducible feedback inhibitor of innate immune signaling pathways that controls the activation of mDCs and their immunostimulatory capabilities, rendered the mDCs hyperactivated with gut-homing potential [67•]. When A20-silenced mDCs were loaded with HIV-1 env, matured ex vivo, and delivered systemically, they were superior inducers of proinflammatory mucosal and systemic antigen-specific immunity [67•]. Notably, these cells upregulated the expression of α4β7 on T cells in a retinoic-acid-dependent manner, a characteristic that can create a permissive environment for HIV-1 replication. As blocking α4β7 limits SIV infection [23], it seems unlikely that A20 silencing would make a good vaccine strategy. Nevertheless, such studies are important for teasing apart the complexities of eliciting desirable immune responses without enriching the pool of target cells.

Back to Top | Article Outline


HIV-1 modifies mDC signaling pathways designed to prevent viral infections, thereby creating a permissive environment. Although it is possible to manipulate mDCs to induce a specific and highly effective targeted immune response, future work will need to improve the direction of such responses to mucosal sites as even a potent systemic response might still arrive too late to prevent spreading infection.

Back to Top | Article Outline


This study was funded by the NIH grant R37AI040877.

Back to Top | Article Outline
Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

Back to Top | Article Outline

References and recommended reading

Papers of particular interest, published within the annual period of review, have been highlighted as:

* • of special interest

* •• of outstanding interest

Additional references related to this topic can also be found in the Current World Literature section in this issue (pp. 445–446).

Back to Top | Article Outline


1. Hladik F, McElrath MJ. Setting the stage: host invasion by HIV. Nat Rev Immunol 2008; 8:447–457.

2. Wu L, KewalRamani VN. Dendritic-cell interactions with HIV: infection and viral dissemination. Nat Rev Immunol 2006; 6:859–868.

3. Cunningham AL, Donaghy H, Harman AN, et al. Manipulation of dendritic cell function by viruses. Curr Opin Microbiol 2010; 13:524–529.

4. Altfeld M, Fadda L, Frleta D, Bhardwaj N. DCs and NK cells: critical effectors in the immune response to HIV-1. Nat Rev Immunol 2011; 11:176–186.

5. Barratt-Boyes SM, Brown KN, Melhem N, et al. Understanding and exploiting dendritic cells in human immunodeficiency virus infection using the nonhuman primate model. Immunol Res 2006; 36:265–274.

6. Benlahrech A, Gotch F, Kelleher P, Patterson S. Loss of NK stimulatory capacity by plasmacytoid and monocyte-derived DC but not myeloid DC in HIV-1 infected patients. PLoS One 2011; 6:e17525.

7••. Wijewardana V, Soloff AC, Liu X, et al. Early myeloid dendritic cell dysregulation is predictive of disease progression in simian immunodeficiency virus infection. PLoS Pathog 2010; 6:e1001235.

In this longitudinal SIV macaque study, the authors show that mDC dysregulation occurs early in infection, predicts disease progression, and is associated with recruitment of mDCs to lymph nodes where they undergo apoptosis.

8•. Dillon SM, Friedlander LJ, Rogers LM, et al. Blood myeloid dendritic cells from HIV-1-infected individuals display a proapoptotic profile characterized by decreased Bcl-2 levels and by caspase-3+ frequencies that are associated with levels of plasma viremia and T cell activation in an exploratory study. J Virol 2011; 85:397–409.

The relationship between mDC loss from the blood, accumulation in the lymph nodes, and apoptosis is characterized during HIV-1 infection in the presence or absence of ART.

9. Centlivre M, Legrand N, Steingrover R, et al. Altered dynamics and differential infection profiles of lymphoid and myeloid cell subsets during acute and chronic HIV-1 infection. J Leukoc Biol 2011; 89:85–95.

10•. Schlaepfer E, Speck RF. TLR8 activates HIV from latently infected cells of myeloid-monocytic origin directly via the MAPK pathway and from latently infected CD4+ T cells indirectly via TNF-α. J Immunol 2011; 186:4314–4324.

Adding to the work on the role of TLR8 signaling in HIV-1 infection, this report describes that latent HIV-1 in moDCs can be activated through TLR8, whereas TNF( secreted by moDCs activated latent HIV-1 from TLR8CD4+ T cells.

11••. Sabado RL, O’Brien M, Subedi A, et al. Evidence of dysregulation of dendritic cells in primary HIV infection. Blood 2010; 116:3839–3852.

This study demonstrates that mDCs are lost from the blood early during HIV-1 infection, while the remaining mDCs display hyperfunctionality and activation, suggesting a role in chronic immune activation.

12•. Xu H, Wang X, Pahar B, et al. Increased B7-H1 expression on dendritic cells correlates with programmed death 1 expression on T cells in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques and may contribute to T cell dysfunction and disease progression. J Immunol 2010; 185:7340–7348.

This study links previous associations between PD-1 expression on T cells and T-cell exhaustion with HIV-1-induced mDC dysregulation. In SIV-infected macaques, a ligand for PD-1 (B7-H1/PD-L1) is increased on mDCs in blood and lymphoid tissues and is associated with increased PD-1 expression by T cells and disease progression.

13. Che KF, Sabado RL, Shankar EM, et al. HIV-1 impairs in vitro priming of naive T cells and gives rise to contact-dependent suppressor T cells. Eur J Immunol 2010; 40:2248–2258.

14. Buisson S, Benlahrech A, Gazzard B, et al. Monocyte-derived dendritic cells from HIV type 1-infected individuals show reduced ability to stimulate T cells and have altered production of interleukin (IL)-12 and IL-10. J Infect Dis 2009; 199:1862–1871.

15. Yonkers NL, Milkovich KA, Rodriguez B, et al. Accessory cell dependent NK cell mediated PBMC IFN-gamma production is defective in HIV infection. Clin Immunol 2009; 131:288–297.

16. Giardino Torchia ML, Ciaglia E, Masci AM, et al. Dendritic cells/natural killer cross-talk: a novel target for human immunodeficiency virus type-1 protease inhibitors. PLoS One 2010; 5:e11052.

17. Fontaine J, Chagnon-Choquet J, Valcke HS, et al. High expression levels of B lymphocyte stimulator (BLyS) by dendritic cells correlate with HIV-related B-cell disease progression in humans. Blood 2011; 117:145–155.

18•. De Jong MA, de Witte L, Taylor ME, Geijtenbeek TB. Herpes simplex virus type 2 enhances HIV-1 susceptibility by affecting Langerhans cell function. J Immunol 2010; 185:1633–1641.

A report describing how HSV-2 enhances Langerhans cell susceptibility to HIV-1 infection by both reducing the expression of the antiviral molecule CD207 and competing with HIV-1 for CD207 binding.

19••. Martinelli E, Tharinger H, Frank I, et al. HSV-2 infection of dendritic cells amplifies a highly susceptible HIV-1 cell target. PLoS Pathog 2011.

This study directly links HSV-2 infection of moDCs to increased HIV-1 replication in dendritic cell–T-cell co-cultures. HSV-2-infected moDCs induced a retinoic-acid-dependent increase in α4β7 on CD4+ T cells concommitant with improved HIV-1 replication. α4β7 high CD4+ T cells were also detected at greater frequencies in HSV-2 infected than uninfected macaques.

20. Ward H, Ronn M. Contribution of sexually transmitted infections to the sexual transmission of HIV. Curr Opin HIV AIDS 2010; 5:305–310.

21. Zhu J, Hladik F, Woodward A, et al. Persistence of HIV-1 receptor-positive cells after HSV-2 reactivation is a potential mechanism for increased HIV-1 acquisition. Nat Med 2009; 15:886–892.

22•. Nawaz F, Cicala C, Van Ryk D, et al. The genotype of early-transmitting HIV gp120s promotes alpha4beta7-reactivity, revealing alpha(4)beta(7)/CD4 T cells as key targets in mucosal transmission. PLoS Pathog 2011; 7:e1001301.

In this study, early transmitted gp120s are found to have increased α4β7-binding capacity, supporting the importance of α4β7 in mucosal transmission of HIV-1.

23. Ansari AA, Reimann KA, Mayne AE, et al. Blocking of alpha4beta7 gut-homing integrin during acute infection leads to decreased plasma and gastrointestinal tissue viral loads in simian immunodeficiency virus-infected rhesus macaques. J Immunol 2011; 186:1044–1059.

24. Cavaleiro R, Baptista AP, Soares RS, et al. Major depletion of plasmacytoid dendritic cells in HIV-2 infection, an attenuated form of HIV disease. PLoS Pathog 2009; 5:e1000667.

25. Duvall MG, Lore K, Blaak H, et al. Dendritic cells are less susceptible to human immunodeficiency virus type 2 (HIV-2) infection than to HIV-1 infection. J Virol 2007; 81:13486–13498.

26. Arhel N, Lehmann M, Clauss K, et al. The inability to disrupt the immunological synapse between infected human T cells and APCs distinguishes HIV-1 from most other primate lentiviruses. J Clin Invest 2009; 119:2965–2975.

27. Quaranta MG, Mattioli B, Giordani L, Viora M. Immunoregulatory effects of HIV-1 Nef protein. Biofactors 2009; 35:169–174.

28. Cavaleiro R, Baptista AP, Foxall RB, et al. Dendritic cell differentiation and maturation in the presence of HIV type 2 envelope. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2009; 25:425–431.

29. Martinelli E, Cicala C, Van Ryk D, et al. HIV-1 gp120 inhibits TLR9-mediated activation and IFN-{alpha} secretion in plasmacytoid dendritic cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2007; 104:3396–3401.

30. Kawai T, Akira S. The role of pattern-recognition receptors in innate immunity: update on Toll-like receptors. Nat Immunol 2010; 11:373–384.

31. Tremblay MJ. HIV-1 and pattern-recognition receptors: a marriage of convenience. Nat Immunol 2010; 11:363–365.

32. Stax MJ, Naarding MA, Tanck MW, et al. Binding of human milk to pathogen receptor DC-SIGN varies with bile salt-stimulated lipase (BSSL) gene polymorphism. PLoS One 2011; 6:e17316.

33. Stax MJ, van Montfort T, Sprenger RR, et al. Mucin 6 in seminal plasma binds DC-SIGN and potently blocks dendritic cell mediated transfer of HIV-1 to CD4(+) T-lymphocytes. Virology 2009; 391:203–211.

34•. Gringhuis SI, van der Vlist M, van den Berg LM, et al. HIV-1 exploits innate signaling by TLR8 and DC-SIGN for productive infection of dendritic cells. Nat Immunol 2010; 11:419–426.

This study shows how HIV-1 co-opts TLR8 and CD209 signaling to productively infect moDCs.

35. Harman AN, Wilkinson J, Bye CR, et al. HIV induces maturation of monocyte-derived dendritic cells and Langerhans cells. J Immunol 2006; 177:7103–7113.

36. Bordon Y. Dendritic cells: an inner eye for HIV. Nat Rev Immunol 2010; 10:678.

37••. Harman AN, Lai J, Turville S, et al. HIV infection of dendritic cells subverts the interferon induction pathway via IRF1 and inhibits type 1 interferon production. Blood 2011; in press.

Evasion of the IFN response is a hallmark of HIV-1 infection. This study, showing that HIV-1 induces a unique subset of IFN stimulated genes in moDCs, including IRFs that favor virus replication, adds to our understanding of how HIV-1 manipulates host defense.

38. Harman AN, Kraus M, Bye CR, et al. HIV-1-infected dendritic cells show 2 phases of gene expression changes, with lysosomal enzyme activity decreased during the second phase. Blood 2009; 114:85–94.

39••. Manel N, Hogstad B, Wang Y, et al. A cryptic sensor for HIV-1 activates antiviral innate immunity in dendritic cells. Nature 2010; 467:214–217.

This report describes a novel co-infection system by which Vpx-mediated restriction to HIV-1 infection in moDCs is overcome. The resulting durable infection matures moDCs and induces a potent type I IFN response mediated by IRF3 signaling in response to capsid interaction with cyclophilin A.

40••. Laguette N, Sobhian B, Casartelli N, et al. SAMHD1 is the dendritic- and myeloid-cell-specific HIV-1 restriction factor counteracted by Vpx. Nature 2011; in press.

The restriction factor countered by Vpx in mDCs is identified. This protein, SAMDH1, inhibits HIV-1 replication at the reverse transcription step of the viral life cycle. The fact that HIV-1 has not evolved to escape this restriction underscores the benefit to the virus of dampened mDC immune responses and maintained mDC-mediated virus amplification.

41•. Sunseri N, O’Brien M, Bhardwaj N, Landau NR. HIV-1 modified to package SIV Vpx efficiently infects macrophages and dendritic cells. J Virol 2011; 85:6263–6274.

The authors identify the minimal packaging sequence for Vpx which enables the engineering of infectious HIV-1-bearing SIV Vpx. The chimeric virus infects moDCs and induces type I IFN responses. The chimeric virus is also more easily transferred to CD4+ T cells than wild-type virus, indicating a possible role for Vpx in virus transfer.

42. Lepelley A, Louis S, Sourisseau M, et al. Innate sensing of HIV-infected cells. PLoS Pathog 2011; 7:e1001284.

43. Albin JS, Harris RS. Interactions of host APOBEC3 restriction factors with HIV-1 in vivo: implications for therapeutics. Expert Rev Mol Med 2010; 12:e4.

44. Sui Y, Zhu Q, Gagnon S, et al. Innate and adaptive immune correlates of vaccine and adjuvant-induced control of mucosal transmission of SIV in macaques. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2010; 107:9843–9848.

45. Trapp S, Derby NR, Singer R, et al. Double-stranded RNA analog poly(I:C) inhibits human immunodeficiency virus amplification in dendritic cells via type I interferon-mediated activation of APOBEC3G. J Virol 2009; 83:884–895.

46. Thielen BK, McNevin JP, McElrath MJ, et al. Innate immune signaling induces high levels of TC-specific deaminase activity in primary monocyte-derived cells through expression of APOBEC3A isoforms. J Biol Chem 2010; 285:27753–27766.

47. Brichacek B, Vanpouille C, Kiselyeva Y, et al. Contrasting roles for TLR ligands in HIV-1 pathogenesis. PLoS One 2010; 5.

48. Palucka K, Banchereau J, Mellman I. Designing vaccines based on biology of human dendritic cell subsets. Immunity 2010; 33:464–478.

49. Wong JP, Christopher ME, Viswanathan S, et al. Activation of toll-like receptor signaling pathway for protection against influenza virus infection. Vaccine 2009; 27:3481–3483.

50. Tewari K, Flynn BJ, Boscardin SB, et al. Poly(I:C) is an effective adjuvant for antibody and multifunctional CD4+ T cell responses to Plasmodium falciparum circumsporozoite protein (CSP) and alphaDEC-CSP in non human primates. Vaccine 2010; 28:7256–7266.

51•. Vagenas P, Aravantinou M, Williams VG, et al. A tonsillar PolyICLC/AT-2 SIV therapeutic vaccine maintains low viremia following antiretroviral therapy cessation. PLoS One 2010; 5:e12891.

Mucosal immunization of SIV-infected macaques receiving ART with AT-2 SIV plus poly ICLC resulted in prolonged suppression of viremia once ART was removed. These findings suggest the potential of therapeutic immunization to control HIV-1 infection and demonstrates promise for dsRNA-based adjuvants.

52. Vagenas P, Williams VG, Piatak M Jr, et al. Tonsillar application of AT-2 SIV affords partial protection against rectal challenge with SIVmac239. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 2009; 52:433–442.

53. Idoyaga J, Lubkin A, Fiorese C, et al. Comparable T helper 1 (Th1) and CD8 T-cell immunity by targeting HIV gag p24 to CD8 dendritic cells within antibodies to Langerin, DEC205, and Clec9A. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2011; 108:2384–2389.

54. Klechevsky E, Flamar AL, Cao Y, et al. Cross-priming CD8+ T cells by targeting antigens to human dendritic cells through DCIR. Blood 2010; 116:1685–1697.

55•. Nchinda G, Amadu D, Trumpfheller C, et al. Dendritic cell targeted HIV gag protein vaccine provides help to a DNA vaccine including mobilization of protective CD8+ T cells. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 2010; 107:4281–4286.

This study demonstrates that the ability of the mDC-targeted DEC-gag vaccine plus poly ICLC to elicit a strong CTL response in mice can be improved by the incorporation of a DNA component. The importance of mDCs for the T-cell immunity is highlighted by the requirement of CD40 for protection.

56. Bozzacco L, Trumpfheller C, Huang Y, et al. HIV gag protein is efficiently cross-presented when targeted with an antibody towards the DEC-205 receptor in Flt3 ligand-mobilized murine DC. Eur J Immunol 2010; 40:36–46.

57. Reeves RK, Wei Q, Stallworth J, Fultz PN. Systemic dendritic cell mobilization associated with administration of FLT3 ligand to SIV- and SHIV-infected macaques. AIDS Res Hum Retroviruses 2009; 25:1313–1328.

58. Zhang R, Zhang S, Li M, et al. Incorporation of CD40 ligand into SHIV virus-like particles (VLP) enhances SHIV-VLP-induced dendritic cell activation and boosts immune responses against HIV. Vaccine 2010; 28:5114–5127.

59••. Cheong C, Choi JH, Vitale L, et al. Improved cellular and humoral immune responses in vivo following targeting of HIV Gag to dendritic cells within human antihuman DEC205 monoclonal antibody. Blood 2010; 116:3828–3838.

The authors report on the humanized version of the DEC-gag vaccine and its efficiency at inducing specific T and B cell immunity in transgenic mice. Development of humanized DEC-gag is crucial for planned and future clinical applications.

60. McEnery R. Vaccine candidate targeting dendritic cells enters clinical trial. IAVI Rep 2010; 14:23.

61•. Taylor PR, Koski GK, Paustian CC, et al. J-LEAPS vaccines initiate murine Th1 responses by activating dendritic cells. Vaccine 2010; 28:5533–5542.

A new peptide technology (LEAPS) initiates Th1 responses through mDC activation.

62. Taylor PR, Paustian CC, Koski GK, et al. Maturation of dendritic cell precursors into IL12-producing DCs by J-LEAPS immunogens. Cell Immunol 2010; 262:1–5.

63. Van Gulck E, Van Tendeloo VF, Berneman ZN, Vanham G. Role of dendritic cells in HIV-immunotherapy. Curr HIV Res 2010; 8:310–322.

64. Niu L, Termini JM, Kanagavelu SK, et al. Preclinical evaluation of HIV-1 therapeutic ex vivo dendritic cell vaccines expressing consensus Gag antigens and conserved Gag epitopes. Vaccine 2011; 29:2110–2119.

65. Routy JP, Boulassel MR, Yassine-Diab B, et al. Immunologic activity and safety of autologous HIV RNA-electroporated dendritic cells in HIV-1 infected patients receiving antiretroviral therapy. Clin Immunol 2010; 134:140–147.

66. Colleton BA, Huang XL, Melhem NM, et al. Primary human immunodeficiency virus type 1-specific CD8+ T-cell responses induced by myeloid dendritic cells. J Virol 2009; 83:6288–6299.

67•. Hong B, Song XT, Rollins L, et al. Mucosal and systemic anti-HIV immunity controlled by A20 in mouse dendritic cells. J Clin Invest 2011; 121:739–751.

By silencing an enzymatic inhibitor of RIG-I and TLR signaling in mice, the authors show that mDCs become hyperactivated and preferentially home to the gut where they promote α4β7 expression on resident T cells. This study adds to our understanding of how the ability of mDCs to regulate responsiveness to pathogens affects mucosal T-cell immunity.


dysfunction; HIV-1; immunity; myeloid dendritic cell; pattern-recognition receptors

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.


Article Level Metrics

Search for Similar Articles
You may search for similar articles that contain these same keywords or you may modify the keyword list to augment your search.