The role of the envelope glycoproteins in HIV-1 transmission and pathogenesis
The HIV envelope glycoproteins are central in the transmission of HIV-1, and are strongly implicated in the pathogenic effects of this virus. As we move through the second decade of HIV research, we are faced with the fact that we have yet to adequately describe the molecular events that determine the outcome of HIV infection. Despite having a detailed understanding of certain aspects of the virus-host interaction, a comprehensive overview is lacking. In the absence of such an overview, effective and long-lasting therapeutic treatment will be difficult to put into practice. In this review, the transmission and pathogenesis of HIV infection are discussed in the context of current developments according to our understanding of the structure and function of the HIV envelope glycoproteins. The potential for development or improvement of therapeutic strategies, based on targeting the envelope glycoproteins, is addressed.