Dendritic cells (DC) have been implicated in the pathogenesis of both human and simian immunodeficiency viruses (HIV and SIV, respectively). The DC-specific HIV-1 trans-receptor DC-SIGN is thought to be essential for viral dissemination by DC. Abundant expression in lymphoid tissues also implies a function for DC-SIGN in chronic HIV-1 infections, in facilitating persistent infection of T cells. We have therefore isolated the rhesus macaque and chimpanzee homologues of DC-SIGN to investigate their function in a primate model. Both rhesus macaque and chimpanzee DC-SIGN are highly similar to the human homologue. Three monoclonal antibodies against human DC-SIGN, AZN-D1, -D2 and -D3, cross-react with rhesus macaque DC-SIGN, whereas AZN-D2 does not cross-react with chimpanzee DC-SIGN. The primate homologues are abundantly expressed in lymphoid tissues such as lymph nodes, as well as in mucosal tissues involved in sexual transmission of HIV-1, and are functionally similar to human DC-SIGN. They have a high affinity for the immunological ligands of DC-SIGN: ICAM-2 and -3. Moreover, both homologues bind the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120 and therefore can act as a HIV-1 trans-receptor in the same way as human DC-SIGN. These data demonstrate that primate models are suitable to further dissect the role of DC-SIGN in the transmission and pathogenesis of infection with immunodeficiency viruses.
|Number of pages||7|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Nov 2001|