• C-type lectin;
  • DC;
  • Endocytosis;
  • Targeting;
  • Virus


Dendritic cells (DC), professional Ag-presenting cells located in mucosae and lymphoid organs, operate at the interface of innate and adaptive immunity and are likely the first cells to encounter invading HIV-1. Although the C-type lectin DC-Specific ICAM-3-grabbing non-integrin (DC-SIGN) binds to several viruses, including HIV-1, its direct involvement in viral entry remains controversial. Despite its central role in DC function, little is known about the underlying molecular mechanism(s) of DC-SIGN-mediated Ag uptake. Here, we analyzed the early stages of DC-SIGN-mediated endocytosis and demonstrate that both membrane cholesterol and dynamin are required. Confocal microscopy and clathrin RNAi showed that DC-SIGN-mediated internalization occurs via clathrin-coated pits. Electron microscopy of ultrathin sections showed the involvement of DC-SIGN in clathrin-dependent HIV-1 internalization by DC. Currently, DC-specific C-type lectins are considered potential target in anti-tumor clinical trials. Detailed information about how different Ag are internalized via these receptors will facilitate the rational design of targeted therapeutic strategies.