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Development of Vaginal Lactobacilli for Mucosal Delivery of a Topical Microbicide, Cyanovirin-N (CV-N)


Women are particularly at risk of HIV infection, therefore, female initiated strategies are essential to curtail the HIV/AIDS pandemic worldwide.

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We developed a live topical microbicide, which is an H2O2-producing Lactobacillus jensenii, a natural component of the vaginal microflora, as a delivery vehicle for the potent HIV inhibitor, cyanovirin-N (CV-N).


The optimized CV-N expression cassette was stably integrated in single copy into the lactobacillus bacterial chromosome, and resolved from extraneous plasmid DNA and antibiotic resistance determinants. The L. jensenii-expressed CV-N dramatically decreased CCR5-trophic HIVBaL infectivity in vitro, with an IC50 of 0.3 nM. Histological examination of CD1 mice, which were intra-vaginally inoculated with L. jensenii expressing CV-N, revealed that L. jensenii was associated with keratinized epithelium present during estrus or free in the vaginal lumen and secreted full-length CV-N in vivo.


This live microbicide represents a major step towards developing inexpensive, durable protein-based microbicides to address the urgent need for female-controlled approaches to block the heterosexual transmission of HIV.

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Correspondence to Laurel Lagenaur.

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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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Lagenaur, L., Liu, X., Simpson, D.A. et al. Development of Vaginal Lactobacilli for Mucosal Delivery of a Topical Microbicide, Cyanovirin-N (CV-N). Retrovirology 2 (Suppl 1), S93 (2005).

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