If we have any hope of achieving a cure for HIV infection, close attention
to the cell types capable of getting infected with HIV is necessary. Of these
cell types, astrocytes are the most ideal cell type for the formation of such a reservoir.
These are long-lived cells with a very low turnover rate and are found in the
brain and the gastrointestinal tract. Although astrocytes are evidently resistant to
infection of cell-free HIV in vitro, these cells are efficiently infected via cell-tocell
contact by which immature HIV virions bud off lymphocytes and have the
ability to directly bind to CXCR4, triggering the process of fusion in the absence
of CD4. In this review, we closely examine the evidence for HIV infection of astrocytes
in the brain and the mechanisms for viral entry and regulation in this cell
type, and discuss an approach for controlling this viral reservoir.
Keywords: Astrocyte, CXCR4, endocytosis, HIV, latency, reservoir.
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