Class B scavenger receptors (SR-Bs) bind lipoproteins and play an important role in lipid metabolism. Most recently, SR-B type I (SR-BI) and its splicing variant SR-BII have been found to mediate bacterial adhesion and cytosolic bacterial invasion in mammalian cells. In this study, we demonstrate that SR-BI is a key host factor required for hepatitis C virus (HCV) uptake and cross-presentation by human dendritic cells (DCs). Whereas monocytes and T and B cells were characterized by very low or undetectable SR-BI expression levels, human DCs demonstrated a high level of cell surface expression of SR-BI similar to that of primary human hepatocytes. Antibodies targeting the extracellular loop of SR-BI efficiently inhibited HCV-like particle binding, uptake, and cross-presentation by human DCs. Moreover, human high-density lipoprotein specifically modulated HCV-like particle binding to DCs, indicating an interplay of HCV with the lipid transfer function of SR-BI in DCs. Finally, we demonstrate that anti-SR-BI antibodies inhibit the uptake of cell culture-derived HCV (HCVcc) in DCs. In conclusion, these findings identify a novel function of SR-BI for viral antigen uptake and recognition and may have an important impact on the design of HCV vaccines and immunotherapeutic approaches aiming at the induction of efficient antiviral immune responses.
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