Richard L Felts

National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD, United States

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Publications (2)19.58 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: HIV-1 cell-to-cell transmission confers a strong advantage as it increases efficiency of transfer up to 100-fold compared with a cell-free route. Mechanisms of HIV-1 cell-to-cell transmission are still unclear and can in part be explained by the presence of actin-containing cellular protrusions. Such protrusions have been shown to facilitate cell-to-cell viral dissemination. Using fluorescence microscopy, electron tomography, and ion abrasion scanning electron microscopy we show that HIV-1 induces membrane extensions in immature dendritic cells through activation of Cdc42. We demonstrate that these extensions are induced after engagement of DC-SIGN by HIV-1(env) via a cascade that involves Src kinases, Cdc42, Pak1, and Wasp. Silencing of Cdc42 or treatment with a specific Cdc42 inhibitor, Secramine A, dramatically reduced the number of membrane protrusions visualized on the cell surface and decreased HIV-1 transfer via infectious synapses. Ion abrasion scanning electron microscopy of cell-cell contact regions showed that cellular extensions from immature dendritic cells that have the appearance of thin filopodia in thin section images are indeed extended membranous sheets with a narrow cross section. Our results demonstrate that HIV-1 binding on immature dendritic cells enhances the formation of membrane extensions that facilitate HIV-1 transfer to CD4(+) T lymphocytes.
    Blood 05/2011; 118(18):4841-52. · 9.78 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The efficiency of HIV infection is greatly enhanced when the virus is delivered at conjugates between CD4+ T cells and virus-bearing antigen-presenting cells such as macrophages or dendritic cells via specialized structures known as virological synapses. Using ion abrasion SEM, electron tomography, and superresolution light microscopy, we have analyzed the spatial architecture of cell-cell contacts and distribution of HIV virions at virological synapses formed between mature dendritic cells and T cells. We demonstrate the striking envelopment of T cells by sheet-like membrane extensions derived from mature dendritic cells, resulting in a shielded region for formation of virological synapses. Within the synapse, filopodial extensions emanating from CD4+ T cells make contact with HIV virions sequestered deep within a 3D network of surface-accessible compartments in the dendritic cell. Viruses are detected at the membrane surfaces of both dendritic cells and T cells, but virions are not released passively at the synapse; instead, virus transfer requires the engagement of T-cell CD4 receptors. The relative seclusion of T cells from the extracellular milieu, the burial of the site of HIV transfer, and the receptor-dependent initiation of virion transfer by T cells highlight unique aspects of cell-cell HIV transmission.
    Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 07/2010; 107(30):13336-41. · 9.81 Impact Factor