prof. dr. Van Damme Els
Certain plant lectins show anti-HIV activity in cell culture and may prove to be effective microbicides in blocking HIV infections
Several plant lectins or carbohydrate-binding agents are endowed with a pronounced anti-HIV activity in cell culture. They inhibit the viral entry process and can block HIV infections and cell-cell transmission. Prolonged virus exposure to lectins results in mutant virus strains with deletions of N-glycans gp120, but which retain full sensitivity to other anti-HIV drugs. Moreover, these mutant virus strains may trigger the immune system to produce neutralizing antibodies against the uncovered immunogenic epitopes on HIV gp120, contributing further to the elimination of the mutant virus particles from the bloodstream. Therefore carbohydrate-binding proteins are a unique group of natural products that may qualify as efficient microbicides.
Carbohydrate-binding proteins are a unique group of natural products that may qualify as efficient microbicides, e.g. they have been proposed as innovative anti-HIV compounds selectively targeting the glycans of the HIV-1 envelope glycoprotein gp120.