CXCR4-dependent HIV-1 infection of differentiated epithelial cells.


Epithelial cells constitute a physical barrier to sexual transmission of HIV, but are also a source of cytokines that could alter infection efficiency. We studied HIV infection of the human colonic epithelial cell line HCT116, which is a model for differentiation of intestinal mucosal epithelium. Differentiated HCT116 cells had increased expression of cell surface C-X-C chemokine receptor type-4 (CXCR4) that mediated HIV entry, despite the apparent absence of cell surface CD4. HIV infection in differentiated HCT116 cells increased the levels of IL-1alpha, and IFN-alpha mRNA even though only 1% of cells had integrated provirus. The inefficient, CXCR4-mediated infection of differentiated HCT116 cells supports the view that epithelial cells are a barrier and not a portal for HIV transmission. However, low level infection of epithelial cells could trigger the release of cytokines that indirectly increase the transmission rate.

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@article{Horejsh2002CXCR4dependentHI, title={CXCR4-dependent HIV-1 infection of differentiated epithelial cells.}, author={Douglas Horejsh and Tracy J. Ruckwardt and C David Pauza}, journal={Virus research}, year={2002}, volume={90 1-2}, pages={275-86} }