Tunneling nanotubes (TNT): A potential mechanism for intercellular trafficking of HIV

Eliseo A. Eugenin, Peter J. Gaskill, Joan W. Berman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Cell-to-cell communication coordinates the development of multicellular systems, and is mediated by soluble factors, gap junctions and the recently described tunneling nanotubes (TNT). Both TNT and gap junctions facilitate the transfer of intracellular mediators between the cytoplasm of connected cells. We recently described that HIV induced the formation of TNT in human primary macrophages in correlation with viral replication. Based on these results we hypothesized that during HIV infection, TNTs are hijacked by HIV to spread infection. TNT like structures may be a novel mechanism of amplification of HIV infection. Our findings and those of others require further investigation to identify the specific mechanisms by which pathogens use TNT.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-244
Number of pages2
JournalCommunicative and Integrative Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • AIDS
  • Communication
  • Connexin
  • Filopodia
  • HIV
  • Inflammation
  • Macrophages

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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