Mahalingam1, A., Geonnotti2, A.R., Balzarini3, J. and Kiser1, P.F.  1Departments of Pharmaceutics and Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Bioengineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah, U.S. 2Duke University Medical Center, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.  3Rega Institute for Medical Research, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Minderbroedersstraat 10, B-3000 Leuven, Belgium.

Lectins derived from plant and microbial sources constitute a vital class of entry inhibitors that target the oligomannose residues on the HIV envelope gp120. Despite their potency and specificity, success of lectin-based entry inhibitors may be impeded by high manufacturing costs, formulation and potential mitogenicity. Therefore, there exists a gap in the HIV microbicides pipeline that underscores the need for mass producible, synthetic, broad-spectrum, and biocompatible inhibitors of HIV entry. Here, we present the development of a polymeric synthetic lectin, based on benzoboroxole (BzB), which exhibits weak affinity (∼25M-1) for nonreducing sugars, similar to those found on the HIV envelope. High molecular weight BzB-functionalized polymers demonstrated antiviral activity that increased with an increase in ligand density and molecular weight of the polymer construct, revealing that polyvalency improves activity. Polymers showed significant increase in activity from 25 to 75 mol % BzB functionalization with EC50 of 15 μM and 15 nM, respectively. A further increase in mole functionalization to 90% resulted in an increase of the EC50 (59 ± 5 nM). An increase in molecular weight of the polymer at 50 mol % BzB functionalization showed a gradual but significant increase in antiviral activity, with the highest activity seen with the 382 kDa polymer (EC50 of 1.1 ± 0.5 nM in CEM cells and 11 ± 3 nM in TZM-bl cells). Supplementing the polymer backbone with 10 mol % sulfonic acid not only increased the aqueous solubility of the polymers by at least 50-fold but also demonstrated a synergistic increase in anti-HIV activity (4.0 ± 1.5 nM in TZM-bl cells), possibly due to electrostatic interactions between the negatively charged polymer backbone and the positively charged V3-loop in the gp120. The benzoboroxole-sulfonic acid copolymers showed no decrease in activity in the presence of a seminal concentration of fructose (p > 0.05). Additionally, the copolymers exhibit minimal, if any, effect on the cellular viability, barrier properties, or cytokine levels in human reconstructed ectocervical tissue after 3 days of repeated exposure and did not show pronounced activity against a variety of other RNA and DNA viruses.


Barrier properties, Biocompatibility evaluation, Cytokine levels, HIV entry, IL-1α, IL-6, IL-8, TNF-α, VEC-100, Viability

Materials Tested

Benzoboroxole-sulfonic acid copolymers, Monoxynol-9, pHPMA 2-hydroxyl propyl methyl poly-acrylamide

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