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Open Access Highly Accessed Opinion

Thirty years on: HIV receptor gymnastics and the prevention of infection

Robin A Weiss

Author affiliations

Wohl Virion Centre, Division of Infection & Immunity, University College London, Gower Street, London WC1E, UK

Citation and License

BMC Biology 2013, 11:57  doi:10.1186/1741-7007-11-57

Published: 21 May 2013

Abstract

During 30 years of research on human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), our knowledge of its cellular receptors - CD4, CCR5 and CXCR4 - has illuminated aspects of the pathogenesis of the acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS). Studying how the HIV envelope glycoproteins interact with the receptors led to anti-retroviral drugs based on blocking the docking or fusion of virus to the host cell. Genetic polymorphisms of CCR5 determine resistance to HIV infection and the rate of progression to AIDS. Eliciting neutralizing antibodies to the sites of receptor interaction on HIV glycoproteins is a promising approach to HIV vaccine development.

Keywords:
AIDS; HIV; cell receptors; CD4; CCR5; CXCR4; Therapy