Cookies on this website

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Accept all cookies' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. If you click 'Reject all non-essential cookies' only necessary cookies providing core functionality such as security, network management, and accessibility will be enabled. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

Many viruses have evolved to exploit cell-surface glycosaminoglycans (GAG), particularly heparan sulfate, to facilitate their attachment and infection of host cells. Here, the case for the involvement of heparan sulfate GAG in cellular infection by human immunodeficiency virus Type 1 (HIV-1) compared with herpes simplex virus Type 1 (HSV-1) is re-examined. It is shown that HIV-1 infection is facilitated by heparan sulfate GAG in only one of three highly permissive cell lines tested, whereas HSV-1 infection is facilitated to varying extents in all three. To evaluate the physiological relevance of these findings, primary peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBL), the physiological host for HIV-1, were examined. It was found that treatment of PBL with heparitinase, to remove any traces of heparan sulfate GAG, did not alter their sensitivity to infection by either lymphocyte-tropic, X4-type strain HIV-1IIIB, nor the monocyte-tropic, R5-type strain, HIV-1Ba-L. It is concluded that heparan sulfate GAG has little physiological role in the infection of lymphocytes by HIV-1 and that evidence derived from studies on immortalized cell lines suggesting a significant role must be interpreted with caution.

Original publication




Journal article


Virus Res

Publication Date





159 - 169


Cell Line, Chlorates, Culture Media, HIV-1, HeLa Cells, Heparitin Sulfate, Herpesvirus 1, Human, Humans, Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Polysaccharide-Lyases, Receptors, Cell Surface, Tumor Cells, Cultured