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Innate immune factors associated with HIV-1 transmission

Pollakis, Georgios; Stax, Martijn J.; Paxton, William A.

Current Opinion in HIV and AIDS: September 2011 - Volume 6 - Issue 5 - p 341–347
doi: 10.1097/COH.0b013e3283499e11
Innate immunity: Edited by William A. Paxton and Teunis B.H. Geijtenbeek

Purpose of review Relatively little is known with regards to the mechanisms of HIV-1 transmission across a mucosal surface and more specifically what effects host factors have on influencing infection and early viral dissemination. The purpose of this review is to summarize which factors of the innate immune response can influence mucosal transmission of HIV-1.

Recent findings A large array of cell types reside at the mucosal surface ranging from Langerhans cells, dendritic cells, macrophages as well as CD4+ lymphocytes, all of which interact with the virus in a unique and different way and which can contribute to risk of HIV-1 transmission. Numerous factors present in bodily secretions as well as the carrier fluids of HIV-1 (breast milk, vaginal secretions, semen and intestinal mucus) can influence transmission and early virus replication. These range from cytokines, chemokines, small peptides, glycoproteins as well as an array of host intracellular molecules which can influence viral uncoating, reverse transcription as well as egress from the infected cell.

Summary Better understanding the cellular mechanisms of HIV-1 transmission and how different host factor can influence infection will aide in the future development of vaccines, microbicides, and therapies.

Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Department of Medical Microbiology, Centre for Infection and Immunity Amsterdam (CINIMA), Academic Medical Centre of the University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Correspondence to William A. Paxton, K3–106 Laboratory of Experimental Virology, Academic Medical Center, University of Amsterdam, Meibergdreef 15, 1105AZ, Amsterdam, The NetherlandsTel: +31 20 566 4739; fax: +31 20 691 6531; e-mail:

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.