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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2008 Aug;52(8):2771-9. doi: 10.1128/AAC.01671-07. Epub 2008 May 27.

Inhibition of cell-to-cell transmission of human T-cell lymphotropic virus type 1 in vitro by carbohydrate-binding agents.

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Department of Experimental Medicine and Biochemical Sciences, University of Rome Tor Vergata, Via Montpellier 1, 00135 Rome, Italy.


Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from healthy individuals can be infected by human T-lymphotropic virus type 1 (HTLV-1) upon cocultivation of the PBMCs with irradiated HTLV-1-transformed human MT-2 cells. This model system closely mimics HTLV-1 transmission through cell-to-cell contact. Carbohydrate-binding agents (CBAs) such as the alpha(1,3)/alpha(1,6)mannose-specific Hippeastrum hybrid agglutinin and the GlcNAc-specific Urtica dioica agglutinin, and also the small, nonpeptidic alpha(1,2)-mannose-specific antibiotic pradimicin A, were able to efficiently prevent cell-to-cell HTLV-1 transmission at nontoxic concentrations, as evidenced by the lack of appearance of virus-specific mRNA and of the viral protein Tax in the acceptor cells. Consistently, antivirally active doses of CBAs fully prevented HTLV-1-induced stimulation of PBMC growth. The inhibitory effects of CBAs on HTLV-1 transmission were also evident when HTLV-1-infected C5MJ cells were used in place of MT-2 cells as a virus donor cell line. The anti-HTLV-1 properties of the CBAs highlight the importance of the envelope glycans in events underlying HTLV-1 passage from cell to cell and indicate that CBAs should be further investigated for their potential to prevent HTLV-1 infection, including mother-to-child virus transmission by cell-to-cell contact through breast milk feeding.

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