The HIV-1 Entry Process: A Stoichiometric View
HIV-1 infection starts with fusion of the viral and the host cell membranes, a process mediated by the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein trimer. The number of trimers required to complete membrane fusion, referred to as HIV-1 entry stoichiometry, remains under debate. A precise definition of HIV-1 entry stoichiometry is important as it reflects the efficacy of the viral entry process and steers the infectivity of HIV-1 virion populations. Initial estimates suggested a unanimous entry stoichiometry across HIV-1 strains while recent findings showed that HIV-1 strains can differ in entry stoichiometry. Here, we review current analyses of HIV-1 entry stoichiometry and point out future research directions to further define the interplay between entry stoichiometry, virus entry fitness, transmission, and susceptibility to antibody neutralization.
© 2015 Elsevier Ltd. Available online 2 November 2015.