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© Andres Alcover
Scanning electron microscopy showing a conjugate formed between a T lymphocyte and an antigen presenting cell. It is worth noting the long shape of the T cell (Tc) polarized towards the antigen presenting cell (APC) and the membrane protrusions that adhere the T lymphocyte to the antigen presenting cell.
Scientific Fields
Diseases
Organisms
Applications
Technique
Starting Date
07
Jul 2015
Status
Completed
Members
5
Structures
1
Publications
2

About

 

Several laboratories showed that the molecular mechanism of T cell polarization and immunological synapse formation could be subverted by viruses that infect T lymphocytes, such as HIV-1 or HTLV-1, to better spread from cell to cell. The cell-cell contact through which these viruses spread was called the virological synapse, because of its common characteristics with immunological synapses (Reviewed in Pais-Correia et al., 2007, Thoulouze and Alcover, 2010, 2011). We have recently shown the HTLV-1 cell-to-cell transmission occurs via extracellular viral assemblies that resemble in structure, composition and function to bacterial biofilms. These « viral biofilms » are induced by the virus and formed by clusters of infectious viral particles held together and to the cell surface by a carbohydrate-rich extracellular matrix components and linker proteins (Figure 1).

Biocelly - HTLV1 biofilm Fig.1
Figure 1. Viral biofilm on HTLV-1-infected T lymphocytes observed by fluorescence confocal microscopy (A), scanning electron microscopy (B) or transmission electron microscopy (C).

Removal of the « HTLV-1 biofilm » from the surface of virus-producing T cells strongly impairs the ability of HTLV-1-infected cells to infect other cells (Pais-Correia et al, 2010, Thoulouze and Alcover, 2010, 2011). Our findings unveil a novel virus transmission mechanism (Figure 2), which can be utilized by other viruses and be the target for new antiviral strategies.

Biocelly HTLV1 biofilm Fig2
Figure 2. Cell-to-cell virus transmission trough a viral biofilm. Confocal microscopy image of a viral biofilm (red) transferred from an infected to a target T cell (A). Direct or indirect mode of virus spread through viral biofilms (B).

 

A. M. Pais-Correia, V. Robbiati, R. Lasserre, C. Inizan, M. Caillet, A. Alcover and M. I. Thoulouze, in collaboration with the Unit of Oncogenic Virus Epidemiology and Physiopathology (A. Gessain and col) and the Imagopole, Institut Pasteur.