Scientific reports 2017 05 107(1) 1695 doi 10.1038/s41598-017-01739-8
Cells productively infected with HIV-1 release virions along with extracellular vesicles (EVs) whose biogenesis, size, and physical properties resemble those of retroviruses. Here, we found that a significant number of EVs (exosomes) released by HIV-1 infected cells carry gp120 (Env), a viral protein that mediates virus attachment and fusion to target cells, and also facilitates HIV infection in various indirect ways. Depletion of viral preparations of EVs, in particular of those that carry gp120, decreases viral infection of human lymphoid tissue ex vivo. Thus, EVs that carry Env identified in our work seem to facilitate HIV infection and therefore may constitute a new therapeutic target for antiviral strategy.