During HIV infection, the virus is taken up by dendritic cell populations (modeled in vitro by monocyte derived dendritic cells, MDDC), which subsequently transfer the virus to T lymphocytes. Scientists identified MDDC processes that affect transfer success – revealing ways to prevent early virus dissemination.
Dendritic cells are the human body’s border patrol. Many of these cells circulate in body areas that are in contact with the outer world, such as the linings of the stomach and nose or in the skin. When they encounter a foreign (and possibly dangerous) object, they swiftly scoop it up and present its characteristics to the authorities, the cell-mediated immune system in the form of T cells. Once the T cells have received the invader's footprint, they spring into action by replicating and secreting cytokines that shape the body’s immune response, eventually neutralizing the intruder.