Link to HAL – pasteur-04121704
Link to DOI – 10.1101/2021.09.27.461933
ABSTRACT Collective transmission via structures containing several virions has recently emerged as a highly efficient mode of viral spread. Here, we demonstrate that HIV-1 spreads between T lymphocytes in the form of viral particles colonies that are concentrated and sheltered in an extracellular matrix (ECM) lattice enabling their collective transmission upon cell contacts. Intrinsically, ECM-clustered viruses infect T lymphocytes more efficiently than individual viral particles. They preserve HIV-1 transmission from antiretroviral treatment (ArT) and potent broadly neutralizing antibodies. We also show that collagen induced by HIV-1 infection controls the clustering of virions and their collective spread, thereby enhancing infectivity. CD4+ T cells from HIV-1-infected patients produce and transmit ECM-virus clusters, supporting that they could be involved in vivo . This study provides new insights into modes of HIV-1 transmission and identifies a novel fundamental role for collagen in this process. HIV-1 spread via ECM-virus clusters may have important implications for viral dissemination and persistence, including during therapy.