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Vaginal Lactobacilli for Mucosal Delivery of the Anti-HIV Microbicide, Cyanovirin-N (CV-N)


Women are particularly at risk of HIV infection and there is an urgent need for female-controlled approaches to block the heterosexual transmission of HIV.

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Our work is aimed at the development of a simple, cost-effective, female-controlled preventative against heterosexual transmission of HIV in women, based on our previous proof-of-concept study employing a natural component of the vaginal microflora, as a delivery vehicle for the anti-HIV protein (PNAS, 2003, 100:11672-11677).


A human vaginal isolate of Lactobacillus jensenii was engineered, by stable integration of an optimized expression cassette into the bacterial genome, to secrete high levels of the highly potent HIV inhibitor, CV-N. The L. jensenii-expressed CV-N dramatically decreases infectivity of CCR5-tropic HIVBaL and CXCR4-tropic HIVIIIB in vitro. We further demonstrate that this strain is genetically stable and can transiently colonize animal vaginal mucosa, while retaining important characteristics of the native bacterial phenotype.


This live microbicide represents a novel approach in the development of an inexpensive and stable protein-based microbicide to curtail the HIV/AIDS pandemic worldwide.

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Correspondence to Qiang Xu.

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Open Access This article is published under license to BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Xu, Q., Lagenaur, L., Liu, X. et al. Vaginal Lactobacilli for Mucosal Delivery of the Anti-HIV Microbicide, Cyanovirin-N (CV-N). Retrovirology 2 (Suppl 1), S87 (2005).

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