Potent Anti-Influenza Activity of Cyanovirin-N and Interactions with Viral Hemagglutinin

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Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy






American Society for Microbiology

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The novel antiviral protein cyanovirin-N (CV-N) was initially discovered based on its potent activity against the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Subsequent studies identified the HIV envelope glycoproteins gp120 and gp41 as molecular targets of CV-N. More recently, mechanistic studies have shown that certain high-mannose oligosaccharides (oligomannose-8 and oligomannose-9) found on the HIV envelope glycoproteins comprise the specific sites to which CV-N binds. Such selective, carbohydrate-dependent interactions may account, at least in part, for the unusual and unexpected spectrum of antiviral activity of CV-N described herein. We screened CV-N against a broad range of respiratory and enteric viruses, as well as flaviviruses and herpesviruses. CV-N was inactive against rhinoviruses, human parainfluenza virus, respiratory syncytial virus, and enteric viruses but was moderately active against some herpesvirus and hepatitis virus (bovine viral diarrhea virus) strains (50% effective concentration [EC50] = ~1 µg/ml) while inactive against others. Remarkably, however, CV-N and related homologs showed highly potent antiviral activity against almost all strains of influenza A and B virus, including clinical isolates and a neuraminidase inhibitor-resistant strain (EC50 = 0.004 to 0.04 µg/ml). When influenza virus particles were pretreated with CV-N, viral titers were lowered significantly (>1,000-fold). Further studies identified influenza virus hemagglutinin as a target for CV-N, showed that antiviral activity and hemagglutinin binding were correlated, and indicated that CV-N's interactions with hemagglutinin involved oligosaccharides. These results further reveal new potential avenues for antiviral therapeutics and prophylaxis targeting specific oligosaccharide-comprised sites on certain enveloped viruses, including HIV, influenza virus, and possibly others.