Analysis of HIV-1 cell-to-cell transfer to macrophages

Abstract : Macrophages are important targets of HIV-1 and play crucial roles in physiopathology of infection. Because of their long time survival capacity, infected macrophages participate in virus dissemination and establishment of persistent virus reservoirs in numerous tissues. In vitro, macrophages infection and analysis of the different steps of the virus cycle have been largely documented using cell-free virus infection. However, there is a paucity in knowledge of the mechanisms that control infection and dissemination to macrophages by cell-to-cell transfer. In the work presented here, we establish a model of HIV-1 cell-to-cell transfer from infected T cells to macrophages. We observed that infected T cells are able to interact with macrophages leading to cell fusion for transfer of viral material to macrophages targets. This cell-to-cell fusion transfer, very fast and efficient, is restricted to CCR5-tropic viruses, and mediated by viral envelope-receptor interactions. Transferred viruses can then accumulate in cytoplasmic compartments of newly lymphocyte/macrophages fused cells but we also observed early viral assembly and budding events at the plasma membrane of these fused cells, resulting from the merge of viral material between infected T cells and macrophages. These cells then acquire the ability to fuse with neighboring non-infected macrophages for virus dissemination. Together, these two-sequential envelope-dependent cell fusion process lead to the formation of highly virus-productive multinucleated giant cells reminiscent of the infected multinucleated giant macrophages detected in vivo in lymphoid organs and the central nervous system of HIV-1 infected patients and simian immunodeficiency virus-infected macaques. These mechanisms may represent an original mode of virus transmission for viral spreading and formation of macrophage virus reservoirs during HIV-1 infection.
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Lucie Bracq. Analysis of HIV-1 cell-to-cell transfer to macrophages. Immunology. Université Sorbonne Paris Cité; University of Chinese academy of sciences, 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017USPCB063⟩. ⟨tel-02128298⟩

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