The microbicide cyanovirin-N expressed on the surface of commensal bacterium Streptococcus gordonii captures HIV-1

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Abstract

Objective

To explore the feasibility of expressing the potent HIV-inactivating protein, cyanovirin-N (CV-N), in the human commensal bacterium Streptococcus gordonii, as a possible approach for local delivery of CV-N to prevent sexual transmission of HIV-1.

Design and methods

To express CV-N in S. gordonii, we used the host-vector system we had previously developed. CV-N was expressed as a fusion protein both attached to the bacterial surface and secreted in soluble form in the supernatant of liquid cultures. The soluble form of recombinant CV-N was tested for gp120-binding activity in an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay, whereas S. gordonii strain expressing CV-N on the surface was analyzed in an in vitro HIV capturing assay.

Results

Two recombinant S. gordonii strains secreting or displaying CV-N on the bacterial surface were constructed and the expression of CV-N was confirmed by immunoblot and flow-cytometric analysis. The secreted form of recombinant CV-N exhibited a concentration-dependent binding to the envelope glycoprotein gp120 of HIV-1, whereas CV-N displayed on the bacterial surface was able to capture HIV virions efficiently.

Conclusion

The anti-HIV protein CV-N in S. gordonii was expressed in a biologically active form. This represents a first step in the development of a system to deliver and maintain an effective concentration of a microbicide in the vaginal mucosa.

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