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The human dendritic cell (DC) lineage has recently been unraveled by high-dimensional mapping, revealing the existence of a discrete new population of blood circulating DC precursors (pre-DCs). Whether this new DC population possesses specific functional features as compared to the other blood DC subset upon pathogen encounter remained to be evaluated. A unique feature of pre-DCs among blood DCs is their constitutive expression of the viral adhesion receptor Siglec-1. Here, we show that pre-DCs, but not other blood DC subsets, are susceptible to infection by HIV-1 in a Siglec-1-dependent manner. Siglec-1 mediates pre-DC infection of CCR5- and CXCR4-tropic strains. Infection of pre-DCs is further enhanced in the presence of HIV-2/SIVmac Vpx, indicating that Siglec-1 does not counteract restriction factors such as SAMHD1. Instead, Siglec-1 promotes attachment and fusion of viral particles. HIV-1-infected pre-DCs produce new infectious viral particles that accumulate in intracellular compartments reminiscent of the virus-containing compartment of macrophages. Pre-DC activation by toll-like receptor (TLR) ligands induces an antiviral state that inhibits HIV-1 fusion and infection, but Siglec-1 remains functional and mediates replication-independent transfer of HIV-1 to activated primary T lymphocytes. Altogether, Siglec-1-mediated susceptibility to HIV-1 infection of pre-DCs constitutes a unique functional feature that might represent a preferential relationship of this emerging cell type with viruses.

Original publication




Journal article


Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America

Publication Date





21685 - 21693


Institut Curie, Paris Sciences et Lettres (PSL*) Research University, INSERM U932, Paris, France.