Date of Award
Master of Science (MS)
Microbiology, Immunology, and Biochemistry
Santosh Kumar Ph.D.
Theodore Cory, Ph.D. P. David Rogers, Ph.D.
Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection, despite great advances in antiretroviral therapy (ART), remains a lifelong affliction. Though current treatment regimens can effectively suppress viral load to undetectable levels and preserve healthy immune function, they cannot fully alleviate all symptoms caused by the presence of the virus, such as HIV-associated neurocognitive disorders (HAND). Exosomes are small vesicles that transport cellular proteins, RNA, and small molecules between cells as a mechanism of intercellular communication. Recent research has shown that HIV proteins and RNA can be packaged into exosomes and transported between cells, to pathogenic effect. This review summarizes the current knowledge on the diverse mechanisms involved in the sorting of viral elements into exosomes and the damage those exosomal agents can inflict. In addition, potential therapeutic options to counteract exosomemediated HIV pathogenesis are reviewed and considered.