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Emerging role for complement in HIV infection

Huber, Georg; Bánki, Zoltán; Lengauer, Susanne; Stoiber, Heribert

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: September 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 5 - p 419–426
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e3283495a26
Innate immunity: Edited by William A. Paxton and Teunis B.H. Geijtenbeek

Purpose of review New evidence is provided that the complement system is not only an effective component of the innate immunity, but is also involved in bridging innate and adaptive immune response to control retroviral infections.

Recent findings The complement contributes to the control of retroviral replication by various strategies, such as complement-mediated lysis, triggering of B-cell responses by trapping the virus on follicular dendritic cells in the germinal center or enhancing of antigen presentation and thus the induction of virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes. HIV has evolved mechanisms to escape from complement-meditated neutralization and counteracts these immune responses by escaping from lysis, using follicular dendritic cells as anchor to generate a latent viral reservoir and enhancing the infection of antigen-presenting cells.

Summary This review will discuss the complex interactions of complement and complement receptors with retroviruses and review the escape mechanisms, which protect this virus family from complement-mediated destruction.

Division of Virology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria

Correspondence to Heribert Stoiber, Division of Virology, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria Tel: +43 512 9003 71701; fax: +43 512 9003 73701; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.