Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

University of Michigan scientists identify chemical isolated from bananas as potent inhibitor of HIV infection

15.03.2010
Discovery of how BanLec binds to a key HIV-1 protein opens door to developing microbicides that can prevent sexual transmission of HIV
A potent new HIV inhibitor derived from bananas may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, according to a University of Michigan Medical School study published this week.

Scientists have an emerging interest in lectins, naturally occurring chemicals in plants, because of their ability to halt the chain of reaction that leads to a variety of infections.

In laboratory tests, BanLec, the lectin found in bananas, was as potent as two current anti-HIV drugs. Based on the findings published March 19 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, BanLec may become a less expensive new component of applied vaginal microbicides, researchers say.

New ways of stopping the spread of HIV are vitally needed. The rate of new HIV infections is outpacing the rate of new individuals getting anti-retroviral drugs by 2.5 to1, and at present it appears an effective vaccine is years away.

“HIV is still rampant in the U.S. and the explosion in poorer countries continues to be a bad problem because of tremendous human suffering and the cost of treating it,” says study senior author David Marvovitz, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Although condom use is quite effective, condoms are most successful in preventing infection if used consistently and correctly, which is often not the case.

“That’s particularly true in developing countries where women have little control over sexual encounters so development of a long-lasting, self-applied microbicide is very attractive,” Markovitz says.

Some of the most promising compounds for inhibiting vaginal and rectal HIV transmission are agents that block the virus prior to integration into its target cell.

The new study describes the complex actions of lectins and their ability to outsmart HIV. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins. They can identify foreign invaders, like a virus, and attach themselves to the pathogen. The U-M team discovered BanLec can inhibit HIV infection by binding to the sugar-rich HIV-1 envelope protein, gp120, and blocking its entry to the body.

Study co-authors Erwin J. Goldstein, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biological chemistry at U-M and Harry C. Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor in biological chemistry at U-M, developed the biopurification method to isolate BanLec from bananas. Following their work, the U-M team discovered BanLec is an effective anti-HIV lectin and is similar in potency to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use.

Yet therapies using BanLec could be cheaper to make than current anti-retroviral medications which use synthetically produced components, plus BanLec may provide a wider range of protection, researchers say.

“The problem with some HIV drugs is that the virus can mutate and become resistant, but that’s much harder to do in the presence of lectins,” says lead author Michael D. Swanson, a doctoral student in the graduate program in immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

“Lectins can bind to the sugars found on different spots of the HIV-1 envelope, and presumably it will take multiple mutations for the virus to get around them,” he says.

Swanson is developing a process to molecularly alter BanLec to enhance its potential clinical utility. Clinical use is considered years away but researchers believe it could be used alone or with other anti-HIV drugs.

Authors say even modest success could save millions of lives. Other investigators have estimated that 20 percent coverage with a microbicide that is only 60 percent effective against HIV may prevent up to 2.5 million HIV infections in three years.
Authors: Michael D. Swanson, Harry C. Winter, Irwin J. Goldstein and David M. Markovitz, all of U-M.

Reference: The Journal of Biological Chemistry, Vol. 285, Issue 12
Funding: National Institutes of Health, Burroughs Wellcome Fund
Resources:
AIDS Info U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/

U-M Medical School
http://www.med.umich.edu/medschool/

Graduate Program in Immunology
www.med.umich.edu/immprog/

U-M Department of Biological Chemistry
http://www.med.umich.edu/pibs/biochem/index.html

Shantell M. Kirkendoll | UMICH
Further information:
http://www.umich.edu
http://www.aidsinfo.nih.gov/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The irresistible fragrance of dying vinegar flies
16.08.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für chemische Ökologie

nachricht How protein islands form
15.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>