HIV-1 gp120 interacts with IgE VH3+ on the surface of human basophils and mast cells (FcΕRI+ cells), acting as a viral immunoglobulin superantigen. gp120 from different clades induces mediator release from FcΕRI+ cells. gp120 also induces IL-4 and IL-13 synthesis in human basophils. The chemokine receptors CCR3 and CXCR4, which are coreceptors of HIV-1 infection, are expressed by human FcΕRI+ cells. HIV-1 Tat protein is a potent chemoattractant for basophils and lung mast cells, interacting with CCR3. Incubation of basophils with Tat protein upregulates the surface expression of the CCR3 receptor. There is evidence that human FcΕRI+ cells could be infected in vitro by M-tropic HIV-1 strains.

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