Infection by human immunodeficiency virus-1 (HIV-1) is associated with a progressive decrease in CD4 T-cell numbers and the consequent collapse of host immune defenses. The major pathogenic mechanism of AIDS is the massive apoptotic destruction of the immunocompetent cells, including uninfected cells. The latter process, also known as by-stander killing, operates by various mechanisms one of which involves the formation of syncytia which undergo cell death by following a complex pathway. We present here a detailed and curated map of the syncytial apoptosis signaling network, aimed at simplifying the whole mechanism that we have characterized at the molecular level in the last 15 years. The map was created using Systems Biology Graphical Notation language with the help of CellDesigner software and encompasses 36 components (proteins/genes) and 54 interactions. The simplification of this complex network paves the way for the development of novel therapeutic strategies to eradicate HIV-1 infection. Agents that induce the selective death of HIV-1-elicited syncytia might lead to the elimination of viral reservoirs and hence constitute an important complement to current antiretroviral therapies.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology
- Cancer Research
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience