Cell-to-cell infection by HIV contributes over half of virus infection

Shingo Iwami, Junko S. Takeuchi, Shinji Nakaoka, Fabrizio Mammano, François Clavel, Hisashi Inaba, Tomoko Kobayashi, Naoko Misawa, Kazuyuki Aihara, Yoshio Koyanagi, Kei Sato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

118 Citations (Scopus)


Cell-to-cell viral infection, in which viruses spread through contact of infected cell with surrounding uninfected cells, has been considered as a critical mode of virus infection. However, since it is technically difficult to experimentally discriminate the two modes of viral infection, namely cell-free infection and cell-to-cell infection, the quantitative information that underlies cell-to-cell infection has yet to be elucidated, and its impact on virus spread remains unclear. To address this fundamental question in virology, we quantitatively analyzed the dynamics of cell-to-cell and cell-free human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) infections through experimental-mathematical investigation. Our analyses demonstrated that the cell-to-cell infection mode accounts for approximately 60% of viral infection, and this infection mode shortens the generation time of viruses by 0.9 times and increases the viral fitness by 3.9 times. Our results suggest that even a complete block of the cell-free infection would provide only a limited impact on HIV-1 spread.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere08150
Issue numberOCTOBER2015
Publication statusPublished - Oct 6 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Cell-to-cell infection by HIV contributes over half of virus infection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this