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HIV-1 infection through the CCR5 receptor is blocked by receptor dimerization

  • A. J. Vila-Coro
  • M. Mellado
  • A. Martín de Ana
  • P. Lucas
  • G. del Real
  • C. Martínez-A.
  • J. M. Rodríguez-Frade
The National Academy of Sciences
Publication Date
Mar 21, 2000


The identification of the chemokine receptors as receptors for HIV-1 has boosted interest in these molecules, raising expectations for the development of new strategies to prevent HIV-1 infection. The discovery that chemokines block HIV-1 replication has focused attention on identifying their mechanism of action. Previous studies concluded that this inhibitory effect may be mediated by steric hindrance or by receptor down-regulation. We have identified a CCR5 receptor-specific mAb that neither competes with the chemokine for binding nor triggers signaling, as measured by Ca2+ influx or chemotaxis. The antibody neither triggers receptor down-regulation nor interferes with the R5 JRFL viral strain gp120 binding to CCR5, but blocks HIV-1 replication in both in vitro assays using peripheral blood mononuclear cells as HIV-1 targets, as well as in vivo using human peripheral blood mononuclear cell-reconstituted SCID (severe combined immunodeficient) mice. Our evidence shows that the anti-CCR5 mAb efficiently prevents HIV-1 infection by inducing receptor dimerization. Chemokine receptor dimerization also is induced by chemokines and is required for their anti-HIV-1 activity. In addition to providing a molecular mechanism through which chemokines block HIV-1 infection, these results illustrate the prospects for developing new tools that possess HIV-1 suppressor activity, but lack the undesired inflammatory side effects of the chemokines.

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