HIV and mature dendritic cells: Trojan exosomes riding the Trojan horse?

Nuria Izquierdo-Useros, Mar Naranjo-Gómez, Itziar Erkizia, Maria Carmen Puertas, Francesc E. Borràs, Julià Blanco, Javier Martinez-Picado

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146 Citations (Scopus)


Exosomes are secreted cellular vesicles that can induce specific CD4 + T cell responses in vivo when they interact with competent antigen-presenting cells like mature dendritic cells (mDCs). The Trojan exosome hypothesis proposes that retroviruses can take advantage of the cell-encoded intercellular vesicle traffic and exosome exchange pathway, moving between cells in the absence of fusion events in search of adequate target cells. Here, we discuss recent data supporting this hypothesis, which further explains how DCs can capture and internalize retroviruses like HIV-1 in the absence of fusion events, leading to the productive infection of interacting CD4+ T cells and contributing to viral spread through a mechanism known as trans-infection. We suggest that HIV-1 can exploit an exosome antigen-dissemination pathway intrinsic to mDCs, allowing viral internalization and final trans-infection of CD4+ T cells. In contrast to previous reports that focus on the ability of immature DCs to capture HIV in the mucosa, this review emphasizes the outstanding role that mature DCs could have promoting trans-infection in the lymph node, underscoring a new potential viral dissemination pathway. © 2010 Izquierdo-Useros et al.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1000740
JournalPLoS Pathogens
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2010


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