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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2002 Feb 19;99(4):1813-8.

Retrocyclin: a primate peptide that protects cells from infection by T- and M-tropic strains of HIV-1.

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Department of Medicine, AIDS Institute, University of California School of Medicine, Los Angeles, CA 90095, USA.


Human bone marrow expresses a pseudogene that encodes an antimicrobial peptide homologous to rhesus monkey circular minidefensins (delta-defensins). We prepared the putative ancestral human peptide by solid-phase synthesis and named it "retrocyclin." Retrocyclin did not cause direct inactivation of HIV-1, and its modest antibacterial properties resembled those of its rhesus homologs. Nevertheless, retrocyclin had a remarkable ability to inhibit proviral DNA formation and to protect immortalized and primary human CD4(+) lymphocytes from in vitro infection by both T-tropic and M-tropic strains of HIV-1. Confocal fluorescent microscopy studies performed with BODIPY-FL-labeled RC-101, a close analog of retrocyclin, showed that the peptide formed patch-like aggregates on the surface of CD4(+) cells. These findings suggest that retrocyclin interferes with an early stage of HIV-1 infection and that retrocyclin-like agents might be useful topical agents to prevent sexually acquired HIV-1 infections.

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