Journal article Open Access
Broder, Christopher C.; Dimitrov, Dimiter S.
The recent discovery of a chemokine receptor, fusin (fusin/CXCR-4), as the long-sought human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) coreceptor opened an entirely new field of aquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) research on mechanisms of viral entry, tropism and pathogenesis. It was soon followed by the identification of the chemokine receptor CCR-5 as the major macrophage-tropic (M-tropic) HIV-1 coreceptor and the demonstration that other chemokine receptors, CCR-3 and CCR-2b, also may serve as coreceptors, albeit at somewhat lower efficiency. Very recently it was demonstrated that the mechanism of the coreceptor function involves the formation of a complex on the cell surface between the HIV-1 envelope, the primary receptor CD4 and the coreceptor. Thus the prevention of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein-mediated fusion by the chemokines RANTES, macrophage inflammatory protein-1α (MlP-1α) and MlP-1β, as well as by the recently identified fusin/CXCR-4 ligand, stromal cell-derived factor-1 (SDF-1) could be explained by disruption of that complex. Interestingly, the identification of the HIV-1 coreceptor CCR-5 not only provided new insights into the mechanisms of viral entry and tropism, but also may help in explaining why some people with genetic alterations in CCR-5 are protected from HIV-1 infection.