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Adv Sci (Weinh) ; 9(32): e2203898, 2022 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-2118630


Mucus is a self-healing gel that lubricates the moist epithelium and provides protection against viruses by binding to viruses smaller than the gel's mesh size and removing them from the mucosal surface by active mucus turnover. As the primary nonaqueous components of mucus (≈0.2%-5%, wt/v), mucins are critical to this function because the dense arrangement of mucin glycans allows multivalence of binding. Following nature's example, bovine submaxillary mucins (BSMs) are assembled into "mucus-like" gels (5%, wt/v) by dynamic covalent crosslinking reactions. The gels exhibit transient liquefaction under high shear strain and immediate self-healing behavior. This study shows that these material properties are essential to provide lubricity. The gels efficiently reduce human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) and genital herpes virus type 2 (HSV-2) infectivity for various types of cells. In contrast, simple mucin solutions, which lack the structural makeup, inhibit HIV-1 significantly less and do not inhibit HSV-2. Mechanistically, the prophylaxis of HIV-1 infection by BSM gels is found to be that the gels trap HIV-1 by binding to the envelope glycoprotein gp120 and suppress cytokine production during viral exposure. Therefore, the authors believe the gels are promising for further development as personal lubricants that can limit viral transmission.

HIV-1 , Animals , Cattle , Humans , HIV-1/metabolism , Herpesvirus 2, Human/metabolism , Mucins/metabolism , Gels , Mucus/metabolism