The HIV-1, HIV-2 and SIV Nef protein are known to modulate the expression of several cell surface receptors and molecules to escape the immune system, to alter T cell activation, to enhance viral replication, infectivity and transmission and overall to ensure the optimal environment for infection outcome. Consistent and continuous efforts have been made over the years to characterize the modulation of expression of each of these molecules, in the hope that a better understanding of these processes essential for HIV infection and/or pathogenesis will eventually highlight new therapeutic targets. In this article we provide an extensive review of the knowledge gained so far on this important and evolving topic.
HIV Nef, surface receptor down-modulation, CD4, CD8, MHC-I, MHC-II, CD3, CD28, DC-SIGN, T-cell activation, CD1, CD86, viral replication, viral transmission, superinfection, immune system escape
Department of Clinical Biology, Immunology and Microbiology, Ghent University, 3Blok A UZ Gent, B-9000 Gent, Belgium.