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Antimicrob Agents Chemother. 2010 Aug;54(8):3287-301. doi: 10.1128/AAC.00254-10. Epub 2010 May 24.

Actinohivin, a broadly neutralizing prokaryotic lectin, inhibits HIV-1 infection by specifically targeting high-mannose-type glycans on the gp120 envelope.

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Rega Institute for Medical Research, Minderbroedersstraat 10, Leuven B-3000, Belgium.


The lectin actinohivin (AH) is a monomeric carbohydrate-binding agent (CBA) with three carbohydrate-binding sites. AH strongly interacts with gp120 derived from different X4 and R5 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) strains, simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) gp130, and HIV type 1 (HIV-1) gp41 with affinity constants (KD) in the lower nM range. The gp120 and gp41 binding of AH is selectively reversed by (alpha1,2-mannose)3 oligosaccharide but not by alpha1,3/alpha1,6-mannose- or GlcNAc-based oligosaccharides. AH binding to gp120 prevents binding of alpha1,2-mannose-specific monoclonal antibody 2G12, and AH covers a broader epitope on gp120 than 2G12. Prolonged exposure of HIV-1-infected CEM T-cell cultures with escalating AH concentrations selects for mutant virus strains containing N-glycosylation site deletions (predominantly affecting high-mannose-type glycans) in gp120. In contrast to 2G12, AH has a high genetic barrier, since several concomitant N-glycosylation site deletions in gp120 are required to afford significant phenotypic drug resistance. AH is endowed with broadly neutralizing activity against laboratory-adapted HIV strains and a variety of X4 and/or R5 HIV-1 clinical clade isolates and blocks viral entry within a narrow concentration window of variation (approximately 5-fold). In contrast, the neutralizing activity of 2G12 varied up to 1,000-fold, depending on the virus strain. Since AH efficiently prevents syncytium formation in cocultures of persistently HIV-1-infected HuT-78 cells and uninfected CD4+ T lymphocytes, inhibits dendritic cell-specific intercellular adhesion molecule 3-grabbing nonintegrin-mediated capture of HIV-1 and subsequent virus transmission to CD4+ T lymphocytes, does not upregulate cellular activation markers, lacks mitogenic activity, and does not induce cytokines/chemokines in peripheral blood mononuclear cell cultures, it should be considered a potential candidate drug for microbicidal use.

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