Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 transmission by Langerhans cells

Nature Medicine, Volume 13: Pages 367-371, 4 March 2007.

Lot de Witte1, Alexey Nabatov1, Marjorie Pion2, Donna Fluitsma1, Marein AW P de Jong1, Tanja de Gruijl3, Vincent Piguet2, Yvette van Kooyk1 & Teunis B H Geijtenbeek1


Human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) is primarily transmitted sexually. Dendritic cells (DCs) in the subepithelium transmit HIV-1 to T cells through the C-type lectin DC-specific intercellular adhesion molecule (ICAM)-3-grabbing nonintegrin (DC-SIGN). However, the epithelial Langerhans cells (LCs) are the first DC subset to encounter HIV-1. It has generally been assumed that LCs mediate the transmission of HIV-1 to T cells through the C-type lectin Langerin, similarly to transmission by DC-SIGN on dendritic cells (DCs). Here we show that in stark contrast to DC-SIGN, Langerin prevents HIV-1 transmission by LCs. HIV-1 captured by Langerin was internalized into Birbeck granules and degraded. Langerin inhibited LC infection and this mechanism kept LCs refractory to HIV-1 transmission; inhibition of Langerin allowed LC infection and subsequent HIV-1 transmission. Notably, LCs also inhibited T-cell infection by viral clearance through Langerin. Thus Langerin is a natural barrier to HIV-1 infection, and strategies to combat infection must enhance, preserve or, at the very least, not interfere with Langerin expression and function.

1Department of Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology, VU University Medical Center, van de Boechorstraat 7, 1081BT Amsterdam, The Netherlands. 2Department of Dermatology and Venereology, University Hospital of Geneva, 24 Rue Micheli-du-Crest, 1211 Geneva, Switzerland. 3Department of Medical Oncology, VU University Medical Center, De Boelelaan 1117, 1081HV Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Correspondence should be addressed to T.G. (

Received 13 October 2006; accepted 21 December 2006; published online 4 March 2007; doi:10.1038/nm1541


The Circumcision Information and Resource Pages are a not-for-profit educational resource and library. IntactiWiki hosts this website but is not responsible for the content of this site. CIRP makes documents available without charge, for informational purposes only. The contents of this site are not intended to replace the professional medical or legal advice of a licensed practitioner.

Top   © 1996-2024 | Please visit our sponsor and host: IntactiWiki.