Human immunodeficiency virus has evolved several redundant mechanisms to remove its receptor, the CD4 molecule, from the cell surface. Indeed, HIV-1 encodes three proteins, Nef, Vpu and Env, that have a profound effect on CD4 trafficking and catabolism. Given this functional convergence, it is believed that cell surface CD4 regulation constitutes an important determinant of viral replication and pathogenesis in vivo. This review highlights recent progress made in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying the down-regulation of the CD4 receptor by HIV-1 and describes our current comprehension of the role of CD4 down-regulation during HIV-1 infection.
Keywords: hiv-1, cd4 down-regulation, nef, env, vpu, replication, pathogenesis
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