Immunology, Transplantation and Infectious diseases

AIDS immunopathogenesis


Head of Unit

Guido Poli


General goal of the unit is the dissection of the pathogenic interaction between the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and its target cells, i.e. CD4+ T lymphocytes and mononuclear phagocytes. This interaction leads to either productive virus replication with cytopathicity (at least for T cells) or to the establishment of a latent infection by means of proviral integration not followed by active transcription. 

Research activity

In recent years the Unit has particularly focused on the role of functional polarization of human macrophages into classically activated/pro-inflammatory M1 cells and of alternatively activated M2 cells in HIV infection in vitro resulting in the inhibition of virus replication although with different mechanism and potency. This group has also recently described that extracellular ATP (eATP) triggers the release of preformed virions accumulated in macrophages via interaction with the purinergic P2X7 receptor and without inducing their death. Therefore, AIDS immunopathogenesis Unit os interested in identifying additional immuno- pharmacological players that can modulate the state of infection of these cells.