Macrophage infection via selective capture of HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells.
Baxter AE., Russell RA., Duncan CJ., Moore MD., Willberg CB., Pablos JL., Finzi A., Kaufmann DE., Ochsenbauer C., Kappes JC., Groot F., Sattentau QJ.
Macrophages contribute to HIV-1 pathogenesis by forming a viral reservoir and mediating neurological disorders. Cell-free HIV-1 infection of macrophages is inefficient, in part due to low plasma membrane expression of viral entry receptors. We find that macrophages selectively capture and engulf HIV-1-infected CD4+ T cells leading to efficient macrophage infection. Infected T cells, both healthy and dead or dying, were taken up through viral envelope glycoprotein-receptor-independent interactions, implying a mechanism distinct from conventional virological synapse formation. Macrophages infected by this cell-to-cell route were highly permissive for both CCR5-using macrophage-tropic and otherwise weakly macrophage-tropic transmitted/founder viruses but restrictive for nonmacrophage-tropic CXCR4-using virus. These results have implications for establishment of the macrophage reservoir and HIV-1 dissemination in vivo.