Organization of cellular receptors into a nanoscale junction during HIV-1 adhesion

Terrence M. Dobrowsky, Brian R. Daniels, Robert F. Siliciano, Sean X. Sun, Denis Wirtz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The fusion of the human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) with its host cell is the target for new antiretroviral therapies. Viral particles interact with the flexible plasma membrane via viral surface protein gp120 which binds its primary cellular receptor CD4 and subsequently the coreceptor CCR5. However, whether and how these receptors become organized at the adhesive junction between cell and virion are unknown. Here, stochastic modeling predicts that, regarding binding to gp120, cellular receptors CD4 and CCR5 form an organized, ring-like, nanoscale structure beneath the virion, which locally deforms the plasma membrane. This organized adhesive junction between cell and virion, which we name the viral junction, is reminiscent of the well-characterized immunological synapse, albeit at much smaller length scales. The formation of an organized viral junction under multiple physiopathologically relevant conditions may represent a novel intermediate step in productive infection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere1000855
Pages (from-to)13
Number of pages1
JournalPLoS computational biology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 2010

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Ecology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Computational Theory and Mathematics


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