Table of Contents Author Guidelines Submit a Manuscript
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 164203, 30 pages
Review Article

HIV-1 Trans Infection of CD4+ T Cells by Professional Antigen Presenting Cells

Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health, Pittsburgh, PA 15261, USA

Received 28 February 2013; Accepted 9 April 2013

Academic Editors: M. Clementi and Z. Stamataki

Copyright © 2013 Charles R. Rinaldo. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Since the 1990s we have known of the fascinating ability of a complex set of professional antigen presenting cells (APCs; dendritic cells, monocytes/macrophages, and B lymphocytes) to mediate HIV-1 trans infection of CD4+ T cells. This results in a burst of virus replication in the T cells that is much greater than that resulting from direct, cis infection of either APC or T cells, or trans infection between T cells. Such APC-to-T cell trans infection first involves a complex set of virus subtype, attachment, entry, and replication patterns that have many similarities among APC, as well as distinct differences related to virus receptors, intracellular trafficking, and productive and nonproductive replication pathways. The end result is that HIV-1 can sequester within the APC for several days and be transmitted via membrane extensions intracellularly and extracellularly to T cells across the virologic synapse. Virus replication requires activated T cells that can develop concurrently with the events of virus transmission. Further research is essential to fill the many gaps in our understanding of these trans infection processes and their role in natural HIV-1 infection.