Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Chemical in bananas identified as potent inhibitor of HIV infection

Date:
March 16, 2010
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
A potent new inhibitor of HIV, derived from bananas, may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, according to a new study.

This is a 3-D structure of BanLec, a chemical isolated from bananas identified as a potent new inhibitor of HIV infection.
Credit: University of Michigan Medical School

A potent new inhibitor of HIV, derived from bananas, may open the door to new treatments to prevent sexual transmission of HIV, according to a newly published University of Michigan Medical School study.

Related Articles


Scientists have an emerging interest in lectins, naturally occurring chemicals in plants, because of their ability to halt the chain of reaction that leads to a variety of infections.

In laboratory tests, BanLec, the lectin found in bananas, was as potent as two current anti-HIV drugs. Based on the findings published March 19 in the Journal of Biological Chemistry, BanLec may become a less expensive new component of applied vaginal microbicides, researchers say.

New ways of stopping the spread of the HIV are vitally needed. The rate of new infections of HIV is outpacing the rate of new individuals getting anti-retroviral drugs by 2.5 to1, and at present it appears an effective vaccine is years away.

"HIV is still rampant in the U.S. and the explosion in poorer countries continues to be a bad problem because of tremendous human suffering and the cost of treating it," says study senior author David Marvovitz, M.D., professor of internal medicine at the U-M Medical School.

Although condom use is quite effective, condoms are most successful in preventing infection if used consistently and correctly, which is often not the case.

"That's particularly true in developing countries where women have little control over sexual encounters so development of a long-lasting, self-applied microbicide is very attractive," Markovitz says.

Some of the most promising compounds for inhibiting vaginal and rectal HIV transmission are agents that block HIV prior to integration into its target cell.

The new research describes the complex actions of lectins and their ability to outsmart HIV. Lectins are sugar-binding proteins. They can identify foreign invaders, like a virus, and attach themselves to the pathogen.

The U-M team discovered BanLec, the lectin in bananas, can inhibit HIV infection by binding to the sugar-rich HIV-1 envelope protein, gp120, and blocking its entry to the body.

Co-authors Erwin J. Goldstein, Ph.D., professor emeritus of biological chemistry at U-M and Harry C. Winter, Ph.D., research assistant professor in biological chemistry at U-M, developed the biopurification method to isolate BanLec from bananas. Following their work, the U-M team discovered BanLec is an effective anti-HIV lectin and is similar in potency to T-20 and maraviroc, two anti-HIV drugs currently in clinical use.

Yet therapies using BanLec could be cheaper to create than current anti-retroviral medications which use synthetically produced components, plus BanLec may provide a wider range of protection, researchers say.

"The problem with some HIV drugs is that the virus can mutate and become resistant, but that's much harder to do in the presence of lectins," says lead author Michael D. Swanson, a doctoral student in the graduate program in immunology at the University of Michigan Medical School.

"Lectins can bind to the sugars found on different spots of the HIV-1 envelope, and presumably it will take multiple mutations for the virus to get around them," he says.

Swanson is developing a process to molecularly alter BanLec to enhance its potential clinical utility. Clinical use is considered years away but researchers believe it could be used alone or with other anti-HIV drugs as a vaginal microbicide that prevents HIV infection.

Authors say even modest success could save millions of lives. Other investigators have estimated that 20 percent coverage with a microbicide that is only 60 percent effective against HIV may prevent up to 2.5 million HIV infections in three years.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Swanson et al. A Lectin Isolated from Bananas Is a Potent Inhibitor of HIV Replication. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2010; 285 (12): 8646 DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M109.034926

Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Chemical in bananas identified as potent inhibitor of HIV infection." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315091303.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2010, March 16). Chemical in bananas identified as potent inhibitor of HIV infection. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315091303.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Chemical in bananas identified as potent inhibitor of HIV infection." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100315091303.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

Ebola Leaves Orphans Alone in Sierra Leone

AFP (Nov. 27, 2014) — The Ebola epidemic sweeping Sierra Leone is having a profound effect on the country's children, many of whom have been left without any family members to support them. Duration: 01:02 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Experimental Ebola Vaccine Shows Promise In Human Trial

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — A recent test of a prototype Ebola vaccine generated an immune response to the disease in subjects. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Pet Dogs to Be Used in Anti-Ageing Trial

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers in the United States are preparing to discover whether a drug commonly used in human organ transplants can extend the lifespan and health quality of pet dogs. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Today's Prostheses Are More Capable Than Ever

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Advances in prosthetics are making replacement body parts stronger and more lifelike than they’ve ever been. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins