Abstract

Dendritic cells (DCs) are vital in the defense against pathogens. However, it is becoming increasingly clear that some pathogens subvert DC functions to escape immune surveillance. For example, HIV-1 targets the DC-specific C-type lectin DC-SIGN (DC-specific intercellular-adhesion-molecule-3-grabbing nonintegrin) to hijack DCs for viral dissemination. Binding to DC-SIGN protects HIV-1 from antigen processing and facilitates its transport to lymphoid tissues, where DC-SIGN promotes HIV-1 infection of T cells. Recent studies demonstrate that DC-SIGN is a universal pathogen receptor that also recognizes Ebola, cytomegalovirus and mycobacteria. Mycobacterium tuberculosis targets DC-SIGN by a mechanism that is distinct from that of HIV-1, leading to inhibition of the immunostimulatory function of DC and, hence, promotion of pathogen survival. A better understanding of DC-SIGN-pathogen interactions and their effects on DC function should help to combat infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-9
Number of pages7
JournalTrends in Molecular Medicine
Volume9
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2003

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