The cyanobacterial protein cyanovirin-N (CV-N) potently inactivates diverse strains of HIV-1 and other lentiviruses due to irreversible binding of CV-N to the viral envelope glycoprotein gp120. In this study, we show that recombinant CV-N effectively blocks HIV-1(Ba-L) infection of human ectocervical explants. Furthermore, we demonstrate the in vivo efficacy of CV-N gel in a vaginal challenge model by exposing CV-N-treated female macaques (Macaca fascicularis) to a pathogenic chimeric SIV/HIV-1 virus, SHIV89.6P. All of the placebo-treated and untreated control macaques (8 of 8) became infected. In contrast, 15 of 18 CV-N-treated macaques showed no evidence of SHIV infection. Further, CV-N produced no cytotoxic or clinical adverse effects in either the in vitro or in vivo model systems. Together these studies suggest that CV-N is a good candidate for testing in humans as an anti-HIV topical microbicide.
AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses (2004) 20 (1) pp. 11-18 [doi:10.1089/088922204322749459].