Pathogens target DC-SIGN to influence their fate DC-SIGN functions as a pathogen receptor with broad specificity

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Dendritic cells (DC) are vital in the defense against pathogens. To sense pathogens DC express pathogen recognition receptors such as toll-like receptors (TLR) and C-type lectins that recognize different fragments of pathogens, and subsequently activate or present pathogen fragments to T cells. It is now becoming evident that some pathogens subvert DC functions to escape immune surveillance. HIV-1 targets the DC-specific C-type lectin DC-SIGN to hijack DC for viral dissemination. HIV-1 binding to DC-SIGN protects HIV-1 from antigen processing and facilitates its transport to lymphoid tissues, where DC-SIGN promotes HIV-1 infection of T cells. Recent studies demonstrate that DC-SIGN is a more universal pathogen receptor that also recognizes Ebola, cytomegalovirus and mycobacteria. Mycobacterium tuberculosis targets DC-SIGN by a mechanism that is distinct from that of HIV-1, leading to inhibition of the immunostimulatory function of DC and pathogen survival. Thus, a better understanding of DC-SIGN-pathogen interactions and their effects on DC function is necessary to combat infections.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)698-714
Number of pages17
JournalAPMIS. Acta Pathologica, Microbiologica et Immunologica Scandinavica
Issue number7-8
Publication statusPublished - 17 Sept 2003


  • Animals
  • Cell Adhesion Molecules/immunology
  • Cell Adhesion/immunology
  • Cytomegalovirus/immunology
  • Dendritic Cells/immunology
  • Ebolavirus/immunology
  • HIV Infections/immunology
  • HIV-1/immunology
  • Humans
  • Lectins, C-Type/immunology
  • Models, Molecular
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis/immunology
  • Receptors, Cell Surface/immunology
  • Receptors, HIV/immunology

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