Cationic polypeptides are required for anti-HIV-1 activity of human vaginal fluid.

Department of Molecular Biology and Microbiology, Biomolecular Science Center, University of Central Florida, Orlando, FL 32816-2364, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 5.36). 01/2006; 175(11):7560-7. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.175.11.7560
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Mucosal surfaces of the vagina are the portals for heterosexual transmission of HIV-1 and therefore play a fundamental role in the pathogenesis of primary infection. In the search for direct biological evidence for the role of human vaginal fluid in innate host defense, we characterized the anti-HIV-1 function of cationic polypeptides within minimally manipulated vaginal fluid. In the current study we revealed that vaginal fluid confers intrinsic anti-HIV-1 properties against both X4 and R5 strains of HIV-1 and could protect against HIV-1 infection and reduce proviral genome integration in organotypic cultures of human cervicovaginal tissue. The majority of this activity was contained in the cationic polypeptide fraction, and the depletion of cationic polypeptides using a selective cation exchange resin ablated most of the intrinsic activity against HIV-1. By adding the cationic polypeptide fraction to depleted vaginal fluid, we were able to restore activity against HIV-1. Using a proteomic approach, we identified 18 cationic polypeptides within vaginal fluid, nearly all of which are either known antimicrobials or have other purported roles in host defense. Interestingly, physiologic concentrations of 13 of the cationic polypeptides were not active alone against HIV-1, yet in concert they partially restored the anti-HIV-1 activity of cation-depleted vaginal fluid. These results suggest that synergism between cationic polypeptides is complex, and full anti-HIV-1 activity probably involves the aggregate of the cationic peptides and proteins in vaginal fluid.


Available from: Jan Pohl, Jun 15, 2015
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