In the absence of a vaccine, there is an urgent need for the development of safe and effective topical microbicides to prevent the sexual transmission of human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1). In this study, we proposed to develop a novel class of microbicides using syndecan as the antiviral agent. Specifically, we generated a soluble syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule by fusing the ectodomain of syndecan-1 to the Fc domain of a human IgG. We then tested the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule for various in vitro microbicidal anti-HIV-1 properties. Remarkably, the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule possesses multiple attractive microbicidal properties: (i) it blocks HIV-1 infection of primary targets including T cells, macrophages, and dendritic cells (DC); (ii) it exhibits a broad range of antiviral activity against primary HIV-1 isolates, multidrug resistant HIV-1 isolates, HIV-2, and simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV); (iii) it prevents transmigration of HIV-1 through human primary genital epithelial cells; (iv) it prevents HIV-1 transfer from dendritic cells to CD4+ T cells; (v) it is potent when added 2 h prior to addition of HIV-1 to target cells; (vi) it is potent at a low pH; (vii) it blocks HIV-1 infectivity when diluted in genital fluids; and (viii) it prevents herpes simplex virus infection. The heparan sulfate chains of the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule are absolutely required for HIV-1 neutralization. Several lines of evidence suggest that the highly conserved Arg298 in the V3 region of gp120 serves as the locus for the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule neutralization. In conclusion, this study suggests that the syndecan-Fc hybrid molecule represents the prototype of a new generation of microbicidal agents that may have promise for HIV-1 prevention
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