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HIV cell-to-cell spread and innate immune responses

Our research is aimed at understanding the interplay between viruses and the immune system. HIV cell-to-cell transmission is a major mechanism of viral spread. We are studying how antiviral molecules, such as broadly neutralizing antibodies and restriction factors, known to inhibit infection with cell-free virions, interfere with HIV-1 cell-to-cell transmission. Moreover, we previously showed that HIV-1 infected lymphocytes are more potent inducers of type-l IFN than free virions. There are target cell-type differences in the recognition of infected lymphocytes. In primary pDCs and pDC-like cells, recognition occurs in large part through TLR7. In myeloid DCs, and other cells that lack TLR7, recognition is independent of TLR7, and occurs in a large part through a cytoplasmic pathway that we are currently analyzing. Finally, we are examining how HIV-2 spreads from cell-to-cell and triggers type-l IFN in various primary cell types. Characterization of the mechanisms of innate recognition of HIV-infected cells allows a better understanding of the pathogenic and exacerbated immunologic events associated with HIV infection.

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This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Schwartz, O. HIV cell-to-cell spread and innate immune responses. Retrovirology 10 (Suppl 1), O34 (2013).

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