Cell-to-cell communication coordinates the development of multicellular systems, and is mediated by soluble factors, gap junctions and the recently described tunneling nanotubes (TNT). Both TNT and gap junctions facilitate the transfer of intracellular mediators between the cytoplasm of connected cells. We recently described that HIV induced the formation of TNT in human primary macrophages in correlation with viral replication. Based on these results we hypothesized that during HIV infection, TNTs are hijacked by HIV to spread infection. TNT like structures may be a novel mechanism of amplification of HIV infection. Our findings and those of others require further investigation to identify the specific mechanisms by which pathogens use TNT.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)