Mechanism of HIV-1 Entry into CD4+ T Cells

  • Barry S. Stein
  • Edgar G. Engleman
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 300)


One hallmark of enveloped RNA viruses is that they are inherently fusogenic with membranes of their respective target cells. This property plays an obligate role in viral entry and is triggered and catalyzed by specific virally encoded envelope glycoproteins (1). After receptor binding by such envelope components, entry of viral genomic information into the cytosol of susceptible target cells is known to occur by two distinct mechanisms: either by direct fusion of the virus envelope with the plasma membrane in a pH-independent fashion (2), or by rapid internalization of virus via receptor-mediated endocytosis into acidic vesicles where viral envelope glycoproteins undergo requisite low pH-dependent conformational changes that facilitate virus envelope fusion with endosomal membranes (3,4). Viral entry, per se, can be strictly defined as the delivery of genomic viral RNA into the cytoplasmic compartment of host cells consequent to membrane fusion. Therefore, the simple incorporation of a virion into an endocytic vesicle, in and by itself, does not constitute viral entry in the true sense, unless the virus envelope subsequently fuses with the endosomal membrane. Endocytosed virus particles which fail to undergo intravesicular membrane fusion are likely destined for lysosomal degradation.


Human Immunodeficiency Virus Human Immunodeficiency Virus Type Membrane Fusion Envelope Glycoprotein Sendai Virus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barry S. Stein
    • 1
  • Edgar G. Engleman
    • 1
  1. 1.Stanford Blood CenterStanford University School of MedicinePalo AltoUSA

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