Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 is trapped by acidic but not by neutralized human cervicovaginal mucus

Samuel K. Lai, Kaoru Hida, Shetha Shukair, Ying Ying Wang, Anna Figueiredo, Richard Cone, Thomas J. Hope, Justin S Hanes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

To reliably infect a primate model for human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), ∼10,000-fold more virus must be delivered vaginally than intravenously. However, the vaginal mechanisms that help protect against HIV are poorly understood. Here, we report that human cervicovaginal mucus (CVM), obtained from donors with normal lactobacillus-dominated vaginal flora, efficiently traps HIV, causing it to diffuse more than 1,000-fold more slowly than it does in water. Lactobacilli acidify CVM to pH ∼4 by continuously producing lactic acid. At this acidic pH, we found that lactic acid, but not HCl, abolished the negative surface charge on HIV without lysing the virus membrane. In contrast, in CVM neutralized to pH 6 to 7, as occurs when semen temporarily neutralizes the vagina, HIV maintained its native surface charge and diffused only 15-fold more slowly than it would in water. Thus, methods that can maintain both a high lactic acid content and acidity for CVM during coitus may contribute to both vaginal and penile protection by trapping HIV before it can reach target cells. Our results reveal that CVM likely plays an important but currently unappreciated role in decreasing the rate of HIV sexual transmission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11196-11200
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Virology
Volume83
Issue number21
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2009

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Human immunodeficiency virus
Mucus
Human immunodeficiency virus 1
mucus
HIV-1
HIV
lactic acid
Lactic Acid
Lactobacillus
Viruses
viruses
Water
Coitus
vagina
Vagina
Semen
Primates
trapping
acidity
semen

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology

Cite this

Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 is trapped by acidic but not by neutralized human cervicovaginal mucus. / Lai, Samuel K.; Hida, Kaoru; Shukair, Shetha; Wang, Ying Ying; Figueiredo, Anna; Cone, Richard; Hope, Thomas J.; Hanes, Justin S.

In: Journal of Virology, Vol. 83, No. 21, 11.2009, p. 11196-11200.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Lai, SK, Hida, K, Shukair, S, Wang, YY, Figueiredo, A, Cone, R, Hope, TJ & Hanes, JS 2009, 'Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 is trapped by acidic but not by neutralized human cervicovaginal mucus', Journal of Virology, vol. 83, no. 21, pp. 11196-11200. https://doi.org/10.1128/JVI.01899-08
Lai, Samuel K. ; Hida, Kaoru ; Shukair, Shetha ; Wang, Ying Ying ; Figueiredo, Anna ; Cone, Richard ; Hope, Thomas J. ; Hanes, Justin S. / Human immunodeficiency virus type 1 is trapped by acidic but not by neutralized human cervicovaginal mucus. In: Journal of Virology. 2009 ; Vol. 83, No. 21. pp. 11196-11200.
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