Spermatozoa capture HIV-1 through heparan sulfate and efficiently transmit the virus to dendritic cells
Journal of Cell Biology
Semen is the main vector for HIV-1 dissemination worldwide. It contains three major sources of infectious virus: free virions, infected leukocytes, and spermatozoa-associated virions. We focused on the interaction of HIV-1 with human spermatozoa and dendritic cells (DCs). We report that heparan sulfate is expressed in spermatozoa and plays an important role in the capture of HIV-1. Spermatozoa-attached virus is effi ciently transmitted to DCs, macrophages, and T cells. Interaction of
... ction of spermatozoa with DCs not only leads to the transmission of HIV-1 and the internalization of the spermatozoa but also results in the phenotypic maturation of DCs and the production of IL-10 but not IL-12p70. At low values of extracellular pH ( ف 6.5 pH units), similar to those found in the vaginal mucosa after sexual intercourse, the binding of HIV-1 to the spermatozoa and the consequent transmission of HIV-1 to DCs were strongly enhanced. Our observations support the notion that far from being a passive carrier, spermatozoa acting in concert with DCs might affect the early course of sexual transmission of HIV-1 infection.