Medical Research Council - London Institute of Medical Sciences

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Dendritic Cells Deceived
22 August 2012

Dendritic Cells Deceived

Dendritic cells patrol our body picking up potential ne’er-do-wells and bringing them to lymph glands to alert other immune cells. HIV-1 virus subverts this process, however, using the dendritic cells like a Trojan horse to gain access to and infect those immune cells. Virologists have now discovered a molecule called a ganglioside on the surface of HIV-1 that it uses to enter and dupe dendritic cells. Lab-made particles that mimic the virus complete with ganglioside (shown as orangey-yellow), are seen here having entered a dendritic cell (its nucleus dyed blue). Identification of HIV-1’s entry pass could help with efforts to combat the virus.

Written by Ruth Williams

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